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18may20104Dharamshala: The Tibet Post International today in conversation with the executive director of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), Mr. Urgen Tenzin.Yesterday marked the 21st birthday and the 15-year anniversary of the abduction and imprisonment of the 11th Panchen Lama Gendun Choekyi Nyima by the People's Republic of China (PRC).

When asked whether after repeated protests, and pressure by the international community to facilitate the release of the Panchen Lama, there have yet been no concrete results, he felt let down by the lack of action on the ground, the director said that "the very negative response by the Chinese side,i.e the lack of respect for the universal declaration of human rights,or for that fact,the Chinese constitution itself gives the protection of human rights as an important part of the states duties, but ultimately the implementation of these laws come down to nothing,and the current communist regime is not very serious while dealing with the issue,this according to me is the main problem"

The director goes on to say that "economics plays a very big part in the discussion of certain issues, for example during a recent meeting of Hillary Clinton with Chinese officials, the main idea was that national interest comes first, when a nations national interests and issues come to the fore,the human rights agenda always takes a back seat, whenever a country does want to raise the human rights issue in a major forum, the Chinese government uses its economic clout to make the other nations think twice about talking about sensitive issues, Tibet being one of these issues"

The director stressed on the need for countries to adopt a "sincere approach" while dealing with matters of human rights, and also called for a global response and the need to move beyond the simple self interest and give the matter a balanced outlook. He also spoke about the need for a charismatic leader to carry on the fight for these issues

Mr Tenzin also called recent Chinese efforts to malign and smear the reputation of His Holiness the dalai lama, particularly on the issue of his holiness being included in the 2011 indian population census as "Childish and only showed the very real fear and recognition on the Chinese front, of His Holiness the dalai lama as a figurehead for the Tibetan struggle"

Looking back on the 50 years of the Tibetan settlement in India, the director said that "the Tibetan issue has now become a global issue, and the whole world now knows of the Tibetan struggle, the international community has realized that it is very important to preserve the Tibetan people and culture for the benefit of not only the Tibetan community but for humanity as a whole". This he says is the greatest achievement in the past 50 years; on the other hand he says the greatest setback is inside Tibet itself, where the systematic cultural genocide of the Tibetan people and culture and the immigration of the Han Chinese people has lead to the Tibetan people becoming a minority in their own country.

Moving on, when asked about the possible increase in death penalty figures since the last Tibetan uprising in march of 2008,the director says that "exact figures are very hard to find and confirm, because all the information coming out of Tibet has been doctored and edited by the Chinese, free and fair estimates are truly difficult to come by "citing the example of the 2 Tibetans i.e Lobsang Gyaltsen and Loyak who were executed after the March 2008 uprising, international pressure for them to receive a fair trial fell on deaf ears, therefore clearly showing the Chinese mindset of not bowing down or even attempting to listen to the world community. This is the sad yet true fact of the situation in Tibet right now.

Mr Tenzin ends by saying that "unless these is a huge uprising or a committed global call for change in Tibet, it is very hard indeed to foresee in the next few years any major positive change in the political situation right now"

The Tibetan centre for human rights and democracy was the first Tibetan non-governmental human rights organization to be established in exile in India. Founded in 1996, TCHRD is registered as an NGO under Section 2 of the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860.

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