Your Excellency, Mr. President, Honorable Members of the Parliament, ladies and gentlemen.
It is a great honour to speak before you today and I thank you for your invitation. Wherever I go, my main interest or commitment is in the promotion of human values such as warm heartedness - this is what I consider the key factor for a happy life at the individual level, family level and community level. In our modern times, it seems that insufficient attention is paid to these inner values. Promoting them is therefore my number one commitment.
My second interest or commitment is the promotion of inter-religious harmony. We accept the need for pluralism in politics and democracy, yet we often seem more hesitant about the plurality of faiths and religions. Despite their different concepts and philosophies, all major religious traditions bear the same messages of love, compassion, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline. They are also similar in having the potential to help human beings lead happier lives. So these two are my main interests and commitments.
Of course the issue of
The last time I had the privilege to address the European Parliament (EP), on October 24, 2001, I stated, "despite some development and economic progress,
Since March this year, Tibetans from all walks of life and across the entire Tibetan plateau demonstrated against the oppressive and discriminatory policies of the Chinese authorities in
Sadly, the Chinese authorities have resorted to brutal methods to deal with the situation in
Many honorable members of the EP are well aware of my consistent efforts to find a mutually acceptable solution to the
During the seventh round of talks in
Unfortunately, the Chinese side has rejected our memorandum in its totality, branding our suggestions as an attempt at 'semi-independence' and 'independence in disguise' and, for that reason, unacceptable. Moreover, the Chinese side is accusing us of "ethnic cleansing" because our memorandum calls for the recognition of the right of autonomous areas "to regulate the residence, settlement and employment or economic activities of persons who wish to move to Tibetan areas from other parts of the PRC."
We have made it clear in our memorandum that our intention is not to expel non-Tibetans. Our concern is the induced mass movement of primarily Han, but also some other nationalities, into many Tibetan areas, which in turn marginalizes the native Tibetan population and threatens
The cases of the peoples of Manchuria, Inner Mongolia and
Despite the assertions by some hard-line Chinese officials to the contrary, from the copies of our memorandum made available to you it is clear that we have sincerely addressed the concerns of the Chinese government about the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the PRC. The memorandum is self-explanatory. I would welcome your comments and suggestions.
I take this opportunity to appeal to the European Union and the Parliament to use your good offices, sparing no efforts, to persuade the Chinese leadership to resolve the issue of .
While I firmly reject the use of violence as a means in our struggle, we certainly have the right to explore all other political options available to us. In the spirit of democracy, I called for a Special Meeting of Tibetans in exile to discuss the state of Tibetan people and the state of the issue of
I am a staunch believer in democracy. Consequently, I have consistently encouraged Tibetans in exile to follow the democratic process. Today, the Tibetan refugee community may be among the few refugee communities that have established all three pillars of democracy: legislature, judiciary and executive. In 2001, we took another great stride in the process of democratization by having the chairman of the Kashag (cabinet) of the Tibetan Administration in exile elected by popular vote.
I have always maintained that ultimately the Tibetan people must be able to decide the future of
The issue of
My maxim has always been to hope for the best and to prepare for the worst. With this in mind, I have counseled the Tibetans in exile to make more rigorous efforts in educating the younger generation of Tibetans, in strengthening our cultural and religious institutions in exile with the aim of preserving our rich cultural heritage, and in expanding and strengthening the democratic institutions and civil society among the Tibetan refugee community. One of the main objectives of our exile community is to preserve our cultural heritage where there is the freedom to do so and to be the free voice of our captive people inside
I have no doubt that the principled and consistent engagement of the EP with
In contrast to the continued extremely rigid attitude of the Chinese government towards
I also thank the European Parliament for the consistent display of concern and support for the just and non-violent Tibetan struggle. Your sympathy, support and solidarity have always been a great source of inspiration and encouragement to the Tibetan people, both in and outside of .
The consistency of the European Parliament's support for
I thank you for the honor to share my thoughts with you.
THE DALAI LAMA
December 4, 2008