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US Cong/Tibet/China repression

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> Testimony of Lodi G. Gyari
> President, International Campaign for Tibet and
> Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
> House Committee on International Relations Committee
> Hearing of the Status of Sino-Tibetan Negotiations
> November 6, 1997
>         Thank you Chairman Gilman and distinguished members of the
> Committee for the opportunity to testify on the status of negotiations
> between the Tibetan and Chinese leadership.  My name is Lodi Gyari.  I am
> the President of the International Campaign for Tibet, a Washington-based
> organization dedicated to the promotion of human rights and democratic
> freedoms for the people of Tibet.  In a separate and personal capacity, I
> also have the great honor to serve as the Special Envoy of His Holiness the
> Dalai Lama.  Before my departure from service in the Tibetan government in
> exile, I was, in turn, President of the Tibetan Parliament and a member of
> the Tibetan Cabinet.
>         I have appeared before this Committee on several occasions to
> discuss the consequences of Chinese rule in Tibet.  Most recently, I
> testified on September 10 on the subject of religious persecution in Tibet.
> The issue for consideration today, the issue of negotiations, is most
> crucial to the survival of Tibet.  The Committee's examination of this
> issue is particularly timely considering the recent visit to Washington of
> Chinese President Jiang Zemin and the discussions of Tibet in the White
> House and the Congress as well the public outcry against the Chinese
> government's treatment of the Tibetan people that this visit engendered.
>         Moreover, the presence of Mr. Gregory Craig, the newly appointed
> Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues brings me great satisfaction, a
> sentiment I no doubt share with this Committee and its Senate counterpart
> that assiduously carried this appointment from inception to realization.  I
> am most grateful for the tenacity of Congress who, in the face of
> misinformed opposition, persevered and preserved the "central objective" of
> the Special Coordinator position, as described by Secretary Albright, "to
> promote substantive dialogue between the Government of the People's
> Republic of China and the Dalai Lama or his representatives."
>         Similarly, I must say that Secretary Albright is to be credited for
> working together with the Congress during the process of defining the
> Special Coordinator's mandate.  I am confident that Secretary Albright
> understands what is at stake for the Tibetan people, and I know that His
> Holiness the Dalai Lama left their meeting in April fully satisfied with
> her commitment to move the issue of Tibet forward.  The naming of Mr.
> Gregory Craig is a fine example of the level of her interest in Tibet.  Mr.
> Craig is a man of remarkable personal and professional achievement.  He has
> taken on his new responsibilities with enthusiasm and confidence in his
> ability to succeed.   I wholeheartedly support his appointment and look
> forward to working with him to assure a negotiated settlement for Tibet.
> Of course, ultimately it is up to the Tibetan and Chinese peoples to
> resolve the issue of Tibet.  Nonetheless, at this time, I believe outside
> pressure is crucial.
>         I firmly believe that the cumulative effect of Congressional action
> on behalf of Tibet, and particularly the position it has taken in support
> of the Special Coordinator for Tibet, contributed to create a strong
> impetus going into the U.S.-China presidential summit that bolstered the
> administration in its pursuit of an agreement by President Jiang to enter
> into negotiations with His Holiness the Dalai Lama or his representatives.
>         As I have said publicly for the last several weeks, I welcomed the
> Clinton-Jiang meeting, in spite of President Jiang Zemin's strongman
> reluctance to make significant concessions in the area of human rights.
> There is no question that unless the United States and China are engaged,
> the United States can have little influence on China's policies towards
> Tibet.  While President Jiang Zemin may have returned to Beijing with added
> prestige, he also returned a bit wizened in the depth of devotion held by
> the American people, including Tibetan-Americans, to the cause of human
> rights and rule of law, and to the cause of genuine self-rule for the
> Tibetan people.
>         The Tibetan problem is not simply a problem of continuing human
> rights violations against the people of Tibet, nor should it be dealt with
> as such.  Human rights violations, social unrest, and environmental
> degradation in Tibet are the symptoms and consequences of a deeper problem.
> Fundamentally, the issue of Tibet is an issue of colonial rule: the
> deliberate oppression of Tibet by China, and resistance to that rule by the
> people of Tibet.  It is aggravated by the mass migration of Chinese into
> Tibetan territories. It is a perpetually fomenting and potentially
> destablizing problem for China, and it can be resolved only through
> negotiations and not, as China would have it, through force, intimidation,
> and creeping sinocization.
>         The Dalai Lama has taken every opportunity to articulate his
> readiness to begin earnest negotiations with the Chinese.  He has publicly
> and privately communicated his position to President Jiang Zemin and the
> Chinese leadership.  Please allow me to place in Congressional records the
> attached document "Dharamsala and Beijing" a chronological record through
> March 1996 of our attempts to begin negotiations with the Chinese
> leadership.  Since that date, the Dalai Lama has tried, through private
> channels, to jump start the process of negotiations.
>         There has been no substantive outreach by China, although spasmodic
> low level meetings have occurred principally around such high profile
> events as the Dalai Lama's visit in March 1997 to Taiwan, consideration of
> the China resolution at the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, and
> President Jiang's U.S. visit.  These meetings are more aptly described as
> intelligence gathering sessions for Beijing and have provided neither
> opportunity for a frank exchange of views nor forward movement towards high
> level discussions.
>         The rhetoric employed by the Chinese leadership is to blame the
> Dalai Lama for the current impasse.  He is a "splittist", they say, whose
> ultimate motive is to destroy the motherland.  It may be more appropriate
> to label the Chinese leadership as "splittist" for it is their suppressive
> policies towards the Tibetan people that have created and continues to
> create irreparable damage between the Tibetan and Chinese people.  Even
> those Tibetans who are members of the Community Party elite are mistrusted
> and made to feel inferior to their Chinese counterparts.
>         One week after President Jiang's statement at Harvard University
> that the Dalai Lama should stop all independence activities before
> negotiations can begin, let me again reiterate for the Committee, with
> clarity and the authority of my position as Special Envoy of His Holiness
> the Dalai Lama, the Dalai Lama's position on negotiations, in its entirety,
> as it has been repeatedly presented to the Chinese leadership.
>         His Holiness the Dalai Lama is willing to begin negotiations
> anytime, anywhere and without preconditions.  He constructed his "middle
> way" approach in response to, and within the framework of Deng Xiaoping's
> stated assurance to us that "anything except independence can be discussed
> and resolved."  The Dalai Lama's framework for negotiations, presented to
> the U.S. Congress as the Five Point Peace Plan in 1987, and elaborated on
> before the European Parliament in Strasbourg in 1988, does not call for the
> independence of Tibet.  What the Dalai Lama is striving for is genuine
> self-rule, genuine autonomy, for Tibet.
>         The Dalai Lama has no hidden agenda, which is not to say that
> hsitorically Tibet is not an independent country.  Moreover, it is the
> overwhelming desire of the Tibetan people to regain their national
> independence.  However, because the present policy of the Chinese
> government in Tibet poses an increasing threat to the very existence of a
> distinct Tibetan identity, the Dalai Lama has taken the position that his
> priority is to take whatever steps he must to save his people and their
> unique cultural heritage from total annihilation.
>         Obviously any solution to the Tibetan problem must include all the
> Tibetans and not just those within the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR),
> which both in terms of population and territory represents less than half
> of Tibet.  Let me state for the record that we are not making any
> territorial claims on China.  Ninety percent of the areas that we mention
> as being Tibetan are also designated in law by the Chinese as Tibetan
> autonomous areas.  I would like to recommend to you an excellent document
> prepared by two independent researchers, Mr. Steven Marshall and Dr.
> Susette Cooke, "Tibet Outside the TAR:  Control, Exploitation and
> Assimilation."  Their remarkable report is based on 9 months of fieldwork,
> which entailed more than 30,000 kilometers of ground travel in the area.
> It is neatly contained on Compact Disc (CD) and they would be pleased to
> share it with interested members of the Committee.
>         In a speech to British Parliamentarians in 1996, His Holiness stated:
>         "I believe that it is more important to look forward to the future
> than to dwell in the past.  Theoretically speaking it is not impossible
> that the six million Tibetans could benefit from joining the one
> billion Chinese of their own free will, if a relationship based on
> equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect could be established.  If
> China wants Tibet to stay with her, it is up to China to create the
> necessary conditions.  But, the reality today is that Tibet is an
> occupied country under colonial rule.  This is the essential issue
> which must be addressed and resolved through negotiation."
>         Negotiations are the only way to promote a peaceful and
> comprehensive resolution of the Tibetan question.  I have had the privilege
> of having been sent by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to serve on exploratory
> missions to China in 1982 and again in 1984.  Subsequent to these missions,
> the Dalai Lama presented the Chinese leadership with courageous and
> farsighted proposals which take into consideration the interest of both the
> Tibetan and the Chinese people.
>         He has not, however, escaped criticism from some Tibetans and
> friends of Tibet who believe he has given up too much to reach the
> negotiating table.  Ambassador Winston Lord, while serving as Assistant
> Secretary for East Asia, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations
> Committee that the Dalai Lama had gone more than half way to present a
> reasonable platform for negotiations.   This view, I believe, is shared by
> his successor and throughout the Department.
>         It is indeed unfortunate that President Jiang Zemin has so far
> failed to respond to the Dalai Lama's proposals.  President Jiang Zemin
> emerged from the 15th Party Congress as the undisputed leader of the
> People's Republic of China.  If he believes that time is on his side with
> regards to Tibet and so elects to do nothing to resolve the issue, he will
> have made a grave mistake.  There is no one in the Chinese power nexus who
> commands the respect and moral authority of the Dalai Lama, not only in
> Tibet but in the outlying and potentially destabilizing outer regions of
> China.  The Dalai Lama could be a prestigious and powerful influence for
> non-violence in the tumultuous years ahead.
>         Even among Tibetans who are said to be a forward-looking people, I
> am known as a man of great optimism, and I have always maintained that a
> solution for Tibet can be found if there is sufficient political will to do
> so.  Therefore, I am gratified with the Secretary's decision to appoint a
> Special Coordinator for Tibet.  As Americans, you should consider the fact
> that this appointment is in the U.S. self-interest as well.  By selecting a
> serious person of such high caliber within the policy-making apparatus, the
> United States has once again taken a constructive role in the peace and
> stability of the Asia Pacific region.
>         I thank the Committee for the opportunity to speak on the paramount
> importance of negotiations for the future of Tibet.  I respectfully request
> that you be especially attentive to the issue of negotiations during the
> weeks ahead as President Jiang seeks to follow up on his American tour.  I
> look forward to continuing to work with the Congress, the administration,
> and particularly with Mr. Craig, the Special Envoy for Tibetan Issues, in
> order to reach a peaceful negotiated solution for Tibet.
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