Dreams can last a long time, but often enough give way to pragmatic reality. A dream that lasted 46 years ended today, when the Dalai Lama, spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people, in a statement on the 46th anniversary of the annexation of Tibet by China, asked Tibetans to give up their dream of an independent country, saying he believed that "China is the best for Tibetans' progress and future"
This year the Chinese government will mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region. There will be much fanfare and many commemorative events to celebrate the occasion but these will be meaningless when they do not reflect the ground realities. For example, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution were celebrated with great pomp as real achievements at the time they took place.
China has made tremendous economic progress during the past more than two decades. China today is not what it was twenty or thirty years ago. Much has changed in China. As a result she has become a major player in the world and China rightly deserves this position. It is a big nation with a huge population and a rich and ancient civilization. However, China's image is tarnished by her human rights records, undemocratic actions, the lack of the rule of law and the unequal implementation of autonomy rights regarding minorities, including the Tibetans. All these are a cause for more suspicion and distrust from the outside world. Internally, they are an obstacle to unity and stability that are of utmost importance to the leaders of the People's Republic of China. In my view, it is important that as China becomes a powerful and respectable nation she should be able to adopt a reasonable policy with confidence.
The world in general, of which China is a part, is changing for the better. In recent times there is definitely a greater awareness and appreciation for peace, non-violence, democracy, justice and environmental protection. The recent unprecedented response from governments and individuals across the world to the tsunami disaster victims reaffirms that the world is truly interdependent and the importance of universal responsibility.
My involvement in the affairs of Tibet is not for the purpose of claiming certain personal rights or political position for myself nor attempting to stake claims for the Tibetan administration in exile. In 1992 in a formal announcement I stated clearly that when we return to Tibet with a certain degree of freedom I will not hold any office in the Tibetan government or any other political position and that the present Tibetan administration in exile will be dissolved. Moreover, the Tibetans working in Tibet should carry on the main responsibility of administering Tibet.