People's Republic of China Response

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao blamed supporters of the Dalai Lama for the recent violence in Tibet. "There is ample fact and we also have plenty of evidence proving that this incident was organized, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai clique," said the Premier; however, the young generation of Tibetans are dissatisfied with the Dalai Lama's insistence on peaceful protest, revealing deep divisions within the Tibetan community. The Dalai Lama denied any involvement in the events. The group of monks protesting at the Jokhang Monastery also stated the events in Tibet had nothing to do with the Dalaď Lama.

Military Reaction

The People's Republic of China responded by deploying the People's Armed Police. The BBC reported seeing over 400 troop carriers mobilizing into Tibet,[109] which would represent a deployment of up to 4,000 troops. The Chinese authorities have ordered all Hong Kong and foreign journalists to leave Lhasa. According to General Yang Deping, regular military troops from the People's Liberation Army were not deployed.

Chinese authorities are also reportedly concerned that the Tibetan protests could "embolden activists in restive Xinjiang province" to organize street protests as well. The Chinese-backed Panchen Lama, Qoigyijabu, condemned the unrest, saying "the rioters' acts not only harmed the interests of the nation and the people, but also violated the aim of Buddhism. We resolutely oppose all activities to split the country and undermine ethnic unity. We strongly condemn the crime of a tiny number of people to hurt the lives and properties of the people." However, Qoigyijabu has little credibility with the Tibetans as the whereabouts the 6-year-old boy the Dalai Lama identified as the Panchen Lama in 1995 remain unknown. However, Qoigyijabu is swamped by worshippers when he appears for religious ceremonies in Tibet.

In addition to sealing off monasteries, an eyewitness at Sera Monastery identified as John claimed, "They were grabbing monks, kicking and beating them". In Ngawa county, Sichuan, police fired at the crowd after the rioters had burned down government buildings including the local police station, destroyed public and private vehicles including police cars, stabbed police officers with swords, and finally attempted to take firearms from the police, and after the police fired warning shots to no avail. The government claimed that the police acted in self-defense. According to the Chinese government, four protestors were wounded. In contrast, Tibetan activists have claimed that at least eight people were killed during the demonstration.

CPC and Dalai Lama Dialogues

On 19 March 2008 Premier Wen Jiabao condemned Dalai Lama's alleged role in the riot, but said the door for dialogue remained open if he renounced Tibetan independence, and if he "recognizes Tibet and Taiwan as inalienable parts of the Chinese territory." The Dalai Lama has repeatedly stated he seeks autonomy, not independence, citing the need for Tibet to develop as a modern nation which can only happen if Tibet remains part of China.

In an interview with Newsweek on 20 March 2008 Dalai Lama claimed that up until 1959, the Tibetan attitude toward the Han Chinese was affectionate. He also said that the Chinese communists became more aggressive and more harsh, and that at times Tibetans complained about the "Bad Communists", but never "Bad Chinese". He said he hoped for a better relationship between Tibetans and Chinese, and admitted the relationship in the past has been difficult. The Dalai Lama also revealed that he had received messages from top senior officials within the Chinese Communist Party, in hoping for better dialogue.

For press releases by HH Dalai Lama, see here.

International Reaction

Tibetan Government In Exile

The Dalai Lama, head of the Tibetan government in exile in India, called on the Chinese government to stop using force, and later urged the Tibetans to refrain from violence. He said that if the violence continued, he would resign as leader of the government-in-exile, and reiterated that he is only pursuing greater autonomy for Tibet, as opposed to full independence, which he described as "out of the question". The Dalai Lama 28 March 2008 rejected a series of allegations from the Chinese government, saying he does not seek the separation of Tibet and has no desire to "sabotage" the 2008 Summer Olympics.

International Organizations

European Union

European Union leaders asked China to show restraint and for human rights to be respected. EU High Representative Javier Solana said this would not affect Europe's involvement in the Beijing Olympics.

United Nations

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour urged the Chinese government to allow protesters to "exercise their right to freedom of expression and assembly" and urged the Chinese government to refrain from excessive force or mistreatment of any individuals arrested. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged for a "peaceful resolution" but said there would be no UN intervention.

Countries and Regions

Australia- Australia's Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has urged the Chinese government to show "restraint", saying, "These are significant developments and therefore have been the subject already of communication diplomatically between our two governments, and I imagine that those communications will continue."

Brazil- The Brazilian Government deplores the events in the Autonomous Region of Tibet which have led to the loss of human lives. In recalling its traditional support to the territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China, the Brazilian Government expresses its steadfast expectation that self-containment be exercised, so as to make possible an enduring solution which promotes peace and understanding in the Autonomous Region of Tibet, with full respect to cultural and religious differences.

Canada- Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper made a public statement on 20 March 2008, saying, "Canada shares the concerns about what is happening in Tibet. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama told me when I met him and as he has been saying recently, his message is one of non-violence and reconciliation and I join him in that call. Canada calls upon China to fully respect human rights and peaceful protest." Canada also calls on China to show "restraint in dealing with this difficult situation."

Colombia- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia issued a statement saying that Colombia expresses its concern over recent violent events that have taken place in the People's Republic of China in the Tibet Autonomous Region. The Colombian Government is confident that necessary measures are taken to prevent the escalation of violence and to ensure the return to normalcy in this region. Colombia hopes for the successful realization of the Summer Olympic Games in the People's Republic of China in the current year, as they are independent of the events of Tibet.

Cyprus- Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou underlined that Cyprus supports the principle of “a single China” with its territorial integrity safeguarded. Referring to the recent developments in Tibet, he expressed the hope that the situation does not deteriorate, that there is no more loss of lives and that peace and stability will prevail in the region.

Czech Republic- Czech Republic's government demanded that the repressions cease immediately and all the preventively detained persons be released. Czech government also called on the Chinese government to enable independent journalists to enter the area and have access to unbiased information. Czech President Vaclav Klaus also expressed concern about the current disturbances in Tibet and said that violence is no solution either in Tibet or elsewhere in the world. Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karel Schwartzenberg said, "We have been following with deep concern the reports on the current developments in Tibet that have taken a considerable toll in injuries and lost lives. We condemn violence against peaceful and unarmed protesters who seek to freely express their opinion. The use of force only leads to further worsening of the situation; that is why we call for maximum restraint."

Fiji- The interim government of Fiji, led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama, sent an official letter to the Chinese government expressing support for China's crackdown on protesters in Tibet. Parmesh Chand, the Permanent Secretary of Fiji's Prime Minister's office, also commented that "...Fiji also believes that this is an internal matter for the Chinese government to deal with."

France- On 19 March, the French State Secretary in charge of foreign affairs and human rights, Rama Yade, requested China "to stretch out [their] hand to the Dalai Lama" and to respect the Tibetans, while underlining that if this is not the case the international community "will draw the consequences from this". On 24 March, the French president Nicolas Sarkozy requested that the Chinese President Hu Jintao show restraint and called for "the end of violence through dialogue in Tibet." On 25 March, he said : "I have an envoy who spoke with the authorities closest to the Dalai Lama and accordingly, I want the dialogue to begin, and I will adjust my response following the response given by the Chinese authorities."

Germany- Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement on 15 March that "she was watching the violence in Tibet with concern." The German Foreign Ministry released the statement: "Everything must be done to prevent a further escalation of the situation and to enable a peaceful end to the conflict. Minister (Frank-Walter) Steinmeier calls on his Chinese counterparts to offer as much transparency as possible over the events in Tibet."

Hungary- State Secretary László Várkonyi said that Hungary goes along with the Declaration issued on 17 March by the European Union’s Slovene Presidency expressing the EU’s deep concern over the disturbances in Tibet, warning the involved parties to exercise self-restraint, calling the Chinese authorities to respond to the demonstrations in accordance with internationally recognized democratic principles and urging the Chinese government to properly address the concerns of Tibetans with regard to issues of human rights.

India- India's Ministry of External Affairs released the following statement: "We are distressed by reports of the unsettled situation and violence in Lhasa, and by the deaths of innocent people. We would hope that all those involved will work to improve the situation and remove the causes of such trouble in Tibet, which is an autonomous region of China, through dialogue and non-violent means." The statement was criticized by some opposition parties, who described them as an "inadequate response". Conservative BJP party member and Senior Vice President of the Indian Olympic Association MP Vijay Kumar Malhotra said in the parliament "Over 100 innocent protesters have been massacred in Lhasa in the past one week by the Chinese security forces which are involved in ethnic cleansing .. this house should condemn the incidents."

Italy- Italy's Foreign Ministry Massimo D'Alema said, "The Dalai Lama doesn't want independence, he's not trying to break up one China, but he does want recognition for the Tibetan people's rights, their history and their religious expression."

Japan- Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura has stated that the unrest is "basically a domestic issue for China but we hope that both sides will exercise self-restraint so that the disturbance will not spread." Secretary Machimura has also stated: "I would like to know clearly what the situation is and the facts behind what has happened. I hope all parties involved will deal with this calmly and ensure that the number of those killed and injured does not worsen any further." Kazuo Kodama, press secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement that Japan is concerned about the situation in Tibet and was "closely watching the current situation in the city of Lhasa."

Myanmar- Myanmar's government issued a statement saying it opposed move to link the Beijing Olympics with the unrest saying Tibet was an "internal affair" of China.

The Netherlands- Netherlands Member of Parliament Hans van Baalen (VVD) stated in the Dutch news' television show Netwerk that China should refrain from any violence other than absolutely necessary to maintain order in the region, and that China should start a dialog with the Dalai Lama in order to come to a peaceful solution. He also stated that any decision on whether or not to participate in the 2008 Olympic games was up to the athletes themselves.

New Zealand- New Zealand's Parliament expressed its strong support for the right of people to protest peacefully and urged the Chinese authorities to react carefully and proportionately to protest and urged China to engage in meaningful dialogue with representatives of the Tibetan people in order to achieve a lasting resolution of problems in Tibet.

North Korea- North Korea denounced the unrest in Tibet and supported the efforts of People's Republic of China to stop the unrest. The Korean Central News Agency quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying, "Tibet is part of an inalienable territory of China. The DPRK government strongly denounces the unsavory elements for their moves to seek ‘independence of Tibet’ and scuttle the upcoming Beijing Olympics."

Pakistan- Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Sadiq denounced protests in Tibet and said Pakistan was firmly opposed to any attempt to undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Republic of China (Taiwan)- Taiwan's foreign ministry issued a statement saying, "We strongly condemn China's use of force to suppress Tibet and urge the international community to monitor the development in Tibet." The Mainland Affairs Council also condemned the Chinese response.

Russia- Russia said on 17 March that hopes China's government " take all necessary measures to stop illegal actions and provide for the swiftest possible normalization of the situation." The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that any efforts to boycott the Beijing Olympics were "unacceptable." The Foreign Ministry also linked the events in Tibet with the recent declaration of independence by Kosovo, showing a growing movement of groups asking for independence.

Serbia- Serbia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated its support in principle to the policy of one China and to the respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of People's Republic of China. Serbia maintains the stand that Tibet is an internal issue of China and respects the policy of the Chinese government regarding Tibet as an autonomous region.

Singapore- Singapore supports the declared policy of the Chinese Government to protect the lives and property of its citizens from violent demonstrators with minimum use of force. We are opposed to the politicization of the Olympics.

South Korea- South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson Cho Hee-Young has stated that "the use of violence be restrained, and the unrest to be solved peacefully without any further loses of human lives." Spokesperson Cho has also stated that the MOFAT is "closely monitoring" the situation and asks for full cooperation in ensuring the safety of any foreign nationals currently present in Tibet.

Spain- The Government of Spain advocates that a lasting and acceptable solution should be reached through dialogue that preserves Tibetan culture within the People's Republic of China.

Sri Lanka- The Government of Sri Lanka wishes to reaffirm its adherence to the “One China Policy” and the territorial integrity of China. Sri Lanka sincerely hopes that normalcy will return to the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China and further wishes that the disturbances will be brought to an end amicably with the Buddhist concept of “Ahimsa”.

Sweden- Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt condemned China for its crackdown on riots in Tibet, urging Chinese authorities to "fully respect Tibetan rights."

Thailand- Thailand regards the Tibetan issue as an internal affair of the People’s Republic of China. Thailand is against any attempts to link the Tibet Issue with China’s hosting of the Olympic Games, which are mankind’s heritage since ancient times. Thailand is hopeful that the government of the People’s Republic of China will take measured actions that will soon bring back peace and harmony to the Tibet Autonomous Region in China.

United Kingdom- United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the House of Commons of the United Kingdom on 19 March 2008, that he has spoken to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to "urge an end to the violence". Mr Brown confirmed he will meet the Dalai Lama on his visit to Britain.

United States- United States ambassador to Beijing Clark T. Randt, Jr. urged China to exercise restraint. While meeting with the Dalai Lama in Dharmsala, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for an international investigation into the violence in Tibet and dismissed China's claim that the Dalai Lama was behind the unrest as making "no sense." President Bush called President Hu Jintao of China on 26 March 2008. The President raised his concerns about the situation in Tibet and encouraged the Chinese government to engage in substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama's representatives and to allow access for journalists and diplomats.

Venezuela- Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez said "the (U.S.) imperialists want to divide China. And they're causing problems there in Tibet. They're trying to sabotage the Olympics in Beijing, and behind that is the hand of imperialism. We ask the world to support China to neutralize this plan. You see the images of the violence in Tibet. Who is that against? Against China. It's the (U.S.) empire that wants to weaken China, because China is rising up." Also according to Reuters, some leftists in Latin America see the Tibetan independence movement led by the Dalai Lama as a pro-Washington group of conservative monks.

Vietnam- Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement calling all Tibet-related issues a China’s internal affairs. "We believe that the Government of China will take appropriate measures to ensure public order and maintain social stability and economic development in Tibet in particular and China in general."


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