'Chinese leadership's political will can resolve Tibet issue'
Washington: The Tibetan issue, including a wave of self-immolation protests, can be resolved if the new Chinese leadership shows "political will" to address their grievances, an envoy of the Dalai Lama said on Thursday less than a fortnight after Xi Jinping became China's President.
"If there is a political will on the part of Chinese leaders, Tibetan issue could be resolved," Lobsang Nyandak, the Dalai Lama's Representative to the Americas, told a Washington audience.
In fact, Nyandak was referring to a proposal submitted by the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, to the Chinese leadership, which he said could have been a win-win for both.
But unfortunately, he noted, Beijing has never given the Tibetans the opportunity to these issues substantively and asked Beijing to "engage His Holiness's representatives in a very positive manner".
Referring to the 111 self-immolations inside Tibet against China's rule, Nyandak said the situation in the Himalayan region is very grim.
"I believe that the international community's attention and support is very crucial at this point in time," he said.
"In Tibet over the last now over 50 years Tibetans have tried all different peaceful and nonviolent means to express their resentments against the Chinese government. There have been scores of peaceful protests, hunger strikes, letter writing, but the result is always arbitrary arrest, torture and sometimes even shot to death during peaceful demonstrations," he said.
"So the only means that is left for Tibetans, as we see or as an expert sees it, is to, you know, burn themselves in order to let the Chinese authorities know," he said.
Nyandak said even though majority of Tibetans hesitate to openly support the self-immolation because of the drastic kind of form of protest, but it's sure that overwhelming majority of the Tibetan people, both inside and outside Tibet, have so much of great admiration, respect for those self-immolators.
This can be seen from participation of Tibetans in funeral ceremonies that have taken place in Tibet, he added, Irrespective of the changes taking place in China, Tibetan people have continued to pursue the goal of autonomy, which obviously they feel is practical, he argued.
"If China's new leaders have some shift in their understanding of the politics or if there's a little political will on the part of the Chinese leaders, I've always believed that resolving the issue of Tibet is not a big problem," said Nyandak.