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Turning a Problem into an Opportunity – The Win-Win Solution for China and Tibet

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he horrendous recent events in Tibet have shown that the Tibetans will not go quietly to the utter loss of their identity, their spiritual and cultural grave. What is emerging rather messily but forcefully in the vision of all the world is nothing less than the live truth of the Tibetan situation. More than half a century of Chinese occupation and colonization of Tibet and the forcible attempt to change Tibetans into Chinese is not working; and clearly will never work. The “Dalai Lama clique” that Chinese officials keep trying to scapegoat is none other than the entire six million Tibetan people. (Only one third of them live in the “Tibet Autonomous Region” of the Peoples Republic of China, two thirds in the recently created Tibet Autonomous Prefectures and counties of other Chinese provinces, and a tiny fraction in exile around the world.) Thus when the Chinese officials say they are fighting “to the death to destroy the Dalai Lama clique,” they are unwittingly proclaiming a policy that amounts to a cultural genocide; trying to destroy the Tibetan-ness of the Tibetans, cutting the Dalai Lama out of their hearts. They have gone to unimaginable lengths to accomplish this for over fifty years and it has not succeeded. Obviously, this will never work. It is also a mistake to think that he is the problem and will soon be gone. He is seventy two, but his health is excellent and he will be around for some time. But this is a good thing. The Chinese leadership urgently needs his help to recover the good will of the Tibetan people. In spite of long suffering the horrific consequences of the various forms of this genocidal policy = class struggle, thought reform, reform through labor, loyalty re-education programs – the Dalai Lama himself remains committed to nonviolence and a sincere dialogue that seeks a solution that benefits both sides. He also is the only one capable of persuading the Tibetan people to work toward reconciliation with Chinese people who have inflicted enormous suffering upon them for generations. The solution also should be de-mystified. It is simple to understand and easy to accomplish. It is important to recognize this fact, to avoid the despairing attitude that it’s all impossible, it’s too difficult, mistakes cannot be rectified, and there’s no way out of conflict and violence, and so on.

Tibetans want
1) the re-unification of their people and territory, 2) real political autonomy, 3) green economic development, 4) personal and national respect for their being Tibetan, and 5) spiritual freedom to live their Buddhism.

The Chinese want
1) legitimacy in their possession of Tibet, 2) admiration from the world for their economic progress and general civilized culture, 3) economic benefit from the vast resources of the Tibetan plateau, and they are urgently wanting 4) environmental restoration for their climate and water systems, and 5) the spiritual inspiration and revitalization of their people.

1) To give Tibetans reunification of their population and territory, the Chinese must join the Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures and Counties of Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, and Yunnan to the Tibet Autonomous Region and acknowledge the entire plateau of over two miles of altitude as the one Tibet Autonomous Region. This is accomplished by one edict from the politburo and one stroke of the President’s pen. 2) To give the Tibetans the political autonomy they need, the Chinese need only to stop wasting their state funds on the colonization of the plateau, where Chinese people cannot adapt and live healthily long term anyway due to the lack of oxygen at two miles of altitude, and save more money transferring their internal occupation troops that enforce that colonization to duties elsewhere, leaving only minimal garrisons on the border. 3) Removal of the artificial colonizing population centers begins the environmental restoration process, and letting the Tibetans preserve the flora and fauna of their own environment with their own social and agricultural practices successful over millennia in keep their country green. 4) Giving the Tibetan the respect they deserve as Tibetans is a long term educational process that already exists, called “guarding against Han Chauvinism” in relation to minorities, but is not practiced due to the official turn from communism to nationalism as a motivating ideology for the Chinese masses. But here, openness of information within China will begin a process of letting the Chinese people in on the fact that people all over the world treasure the Tibetan people and their spiritual culture. 5) Once the above four steps have been taken by the Chinese leadership, the Dalai Lama and other spiritual teaches can safely return to the Tibetan people in Tibet, bringing back with them the vital Buddhist culture that has been kept alive in seminal form in exile.

1) For the Chinese, their sensitivity about legitimacy can be healed by the Tibetans, once they are internally free of colonists and oppressive soldiers, voting in an internationally observed plebiscite to join the Chinese union voluntarily, which “aye” vote has been guaranteed by the sincere promise of the Dalai Lama – and no one who knows Tibetans doubts that the Tibetans will follow his advice and vote for union, in spite of all that they have suffered for so long. This step gives the Chinese security in their possession of Tibet, as long as they respect their promise of not interfering in the internal autonomy of the Greater Tibet Autonomous Region. 2) The respect and admiration of the world will powerfully arise for the Chinese intelligence and magnanimity in taking the above five steps to make the Tibetans happy, and many distinguished people will certainly nominate the Chinese leaders individually and collectively for Nobel Peace Prizes and other global honors. The honor flowing from abandoning the old unworkable colonialist policy and creatively effecting a truly moral and humanist policy will create a world wave far greater than a mere hosting of an Olympic games. 3) The mineral and herbal and agricultural resources of the Tibetan plateau can be more efficiently exploited by Chinese investors working with international agencies and corporations, activities assured to be green and sustainable under controls established by the autonomous Tibetan regional government. The tourist industry will be much more profitable and sustainable when the international community is welcomed to the highland by the Tibetans themselves, and Chinese investment will thrive far better in genuine partnership with Tibetan management. 4) China will set an example for all world government by joining the Tibetan Regional government in declaring the entire plateau a national environmental preserve, and international environmental agencies will contribute mightily to the guarding and restoration of the Tibetan glaciers, river systems, forests and grasslands, and the careful restoration of the Tibetan wildlife and floral wealth. Al Gore and all those persons world-wide who are awake to the planetary environmental emergency will no doubt join on showering Chinese and Tibetan leaders with accolades for this bold and creative step. 5) Finally, once supported and invited by the Chinese leadership within China the Dalai Lama can spark a virtual renaissance of Chinese Buddhism, once a major source of solace and inspiration to over a billion Chinese people, traditionally harmonious wit Taoist mysticism and Confucian humanism, and that renaissance will contribute enormously to the harmony and peace within China’s society, the glow of which will stabilize the rule of the leadership and restore the spiritual glory of China’s civilization to the global level.

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o, in the midst of the stress and embarrassment and worry of the present conflictridden situation, it is important to raise up into view the possibility of a highly achievable positive outcome, to avoid despair and desperate measures, and inspire creativity and leadership. No one is saying that the human beings involved will turn on a dime from confusion to insight necessarily at this or that moment. But it could help to lift up one’s eyes and heart to the vision.