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Lions Roar : July 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2008 26 Drepung monks marched to the center of Lhasa to demand their release. They marched again on March 14 and were met by brutal beatings and arrests. That is how Lhasa exploded. It seems that the Chinese authorities in Tibet were ready for demonstrations, and that they intended to start a cycle of violence to justify a mass suppression of the remaining Tibetan population of Lhasa, which has long been marginalized, reduced to poverty, and kept under strict control. Apparently the Chi- nese colonial administrator of Tibet, Zhang Qingli, who some time ago openly declared himself at war with the Dalai Lama, executed a plan he had devised to incite the Tibetan protesters to violence. Then, he may have imagined, he could blame this vio- lence on the Dalai Lama and destroy his worldwide reputation as a teacher and practitioner of peace. In fact, the Dalai Lama was surprised and keenly distressed by these brutal events. He always urges Tibetan monks and laity to be peaceful, to pursue their studies, to make the pledges forced on them by the Chinese authorities, and even to denounce him if pressed. He knows how they feel in their hearts, and that they will be expelled from the monasteries if they do not comply with the authorities. When the Chinese blamed him for inciting the violence, he invited impartial investigators to investigate the events in Tibet, and even to check his own private office in Dharamsala to see if there was any evidence that he had in any way organized or incited the uprising. The Dalai Lama has made it plain that he will have nothing to do with violence from any side. The wider world knows him well enough by now to know this to be true; the exception is a few fel- low travelers of the Chinese imperium here and there, and some percentage of the mainland Chinese population (there are more skeptics within China than the government likes to believe). The Dalai Lama stands by his Middle Way approach, despite the fact that Tibet is intrinsically free right now—by history, interna- tional law, the human right of self-determination, the illegitimacy of the mismanaging Chinese colonialist rule in Tibet, and the clear and courageous statement of the Tibetan people. Despite all that, he will still urge his people to vote to join a “United States of China,” on the condition that the Chinese reverse their colonialist policies and grant true “autonomous region status” to the whole of the Tibetan plateau. This Middle Way would give China the legitimacy it craves through a voluntary act of self-determination by free Tibetans, and it would give Tibetans the freedom on the ground they deserve. It is a breathtakingly bold, realistic, generous, and intelligent solution, one that would help the Chinese leadership set themselves on the course of gradual democratization that China needs to come into its own as a truly harmonious society. If President Hu Jintao does not take this opportunity, it will belong to the next supreme leader of China, the fifth since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Whoever he is, by then he will have yet more evidence of how unworkable China’s current hard-line, neo-imperialist behavior is, and he will surely not pass up this golden opportunity. And the Dalai Lama will still be standing there, in his act of truth, patiently holding the key. ♦ Earth-friendly/body-friendly furniture for meditation and daily life, including sitting, sleeping, lounging, and yoga. www.zafu.net Free brochure 1-888-267-5366 Knock down design travels in a suitcase. Multiple positions--feet can be in front, beneath or ankles resting on cross-bar.) Great for people with limited flexibility. www zafuffufufuf net Fre The Tilt SeatTM A kneeling chair and floor desk in one. Balances, strengthens and tones the body. JULY 18-39.indd 26 JULY 18-39.indd 26 4/25/08 11:56:49 AM 4/25/08 11:56:49 AM