The Shared Concern Initiative´s new statement draws attention to the hopelessness and despair that now prevails on the Tibetan Plateau. The statement is a reaction to the acts of self-immolations by which young monks, nuns, and lay people protest against conditions in their homeland.
“The self-immolations are a stark rebuke to the Chinese government’s claims that the lives of many in Tibet have been improving. These singular acts of desperation, irrespective of their motives, should be viewed in the wider context of ongoing religious and political problems in Tibet. Current official Chinese policies threaten the continuing existence of the Tibetan language, culture, religion, heritage, and environment.”
The SCI calls on the international community to initiate an open and honest dialogue with China at all levels, and appeals to Chinese authorities to guarantee freedom of religion to all of its citizens in accordance with its international obligations and with its own laws.
“China has legitimate aspirations to be accepted as a responsible stakeholder in global affairs. But the best way for its government to achieve this goal is to demonstrate that it can care for the needs of all the people living in China, including Tibetans, in a responsible manner. The Chinese government should contemplate the merits of greater openness in Tibet and put a stop to intimidation and harassment, which merely breed further frustration and resentment.”
The statement was signed by seven members of the Shared Concern Initiative: H.R.H. El Hassan bin Talal, André Glucksmann, Vartan Gregorian, Michael Novak, Karel Schwarzenberg, Desmond Tutu and Richard von Weizsäcker.
The statement has been released to selected world media and its full text will be available on the Forum 2000 Foundation website from June 25, 2012. More information about the Initiative can be found here.