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Dalai Lama's historical views in March 31 speech

(2009/04/29)

    The Dalai Lama did not deny the violence in the 1959 rebellion in his memoir and speeches between the 1950s and 1970s. It was until the 1980s, especially after he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which he began to deny the violence in "Tibet independence" movements.

    Because he knew that his political capital and his non-violence principles would lose the foundation if he was involved in any violence.

    In the March 31 speech, he said "more than 20,000 innocent people" were killed "within just two days" during the rebellion. However, merely half a month before, he had said "up to 10,000" were killed within "the following several months" in his March 10 speech.

    Nevertheless, during the Dalai Lama's previous March 10 speeches since 1960, the casualties had always been put at "several thousand".

    What's more shocking was the tale of "87,000 Tibetans" being killed "from March 1959 to September 1960 in Lhasa", as he told a Polish reporter on April 4, 2007.

    Dalai Lama attributed that figure to a "Chinese officer", but failed to identify who the officer was. Besides, the figure was unreasonably high as the Lhasa population was only 37,000 in the 1950s according to the Dalai Lama group's own official website. Even if the about 10,000 Tibetan army and rebellious forces were added, the combined number was still far below the "87,000 killed" as he claimed.

    The Dalai Lama cited the two conventions as examples of close political connections between Tibet and India in his March 31 speech.

    But the treaties were evidences of Britain's attempts to aggress Tibet that was part of China.

    The "Lhasa Convention" was reached after a British-commanded army invaded Tibet in late 1903, occupied Lhasa in August 1904 and forced the 13th Dalai Lama to flee.

    Tibetan representatives were compelled to sign the treaty but the then resident minister to Tibet, appointed by the central government in Beijing to supervise Tibetan affairs, refused to sign it, which made it ineffectual.

    Similar things happened at the meeting at Simla (Now Shimla) in then British India between 1913 and 1914.

    At the meeting, British officials reached a deal with Tibet's local government representatives: the British side would force China's central government to agree Tibet's "independence" and give about 1 million square kilometers of land in neighboring provinces to Tibet. In return, Tibet would give 90,000 square kilometers of border land to British India, based on the McMahon Line that was drawn by the British side at the meeting.

    The deal failed because the central government representative refused to sign the agreement at the meeting.

    On several recent occasions, the 14th Dalai Lama openly said the McMahon Line was legal. these moves can be considered as attempts to seek legitimacy for his argument that Tibet was a sovereign country when the Simla meeting was held.

    During the talks with the central government, Dalai Lama's private representatives asked to shelve the question whether Tibet was part of China in the history. But if the central government agreed with them, it would mean that Tibet signed the 'Simla Convention' as a sovereign country and the McMahon Line was legal. That's why we should never compromise on this question at any time and on any occasions."



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