Tibet: It's Time To Put Tibet On G8 Agenda
Below is an article published by Strait.com:
Next week's G8 summit in Huntsville, Ontario, is a unique opportunity
for world leaders to speak with a single, resolute voice in support of
the Dalai Lama's effort to seek a negotiated settlement with the
Chinese government; to push for broader and more meaningful
human-rights protection in Tibet and China; and to encourage
sustainable development in the region.
While the challenges facing Tibetans are great, continued support from
Canada and other G8 members for the Dalai Lama's "middle way" approach
has strengthened Tibetan resolve to work toward a mutually beneficial
solution with the Chinese government that secures genuine autonomy for
the Tibetan people within the Chinese constitution, based on the
mutual benefit and long-term interest of the Tibetan and Chinese
Indeed, since 2008, seven members of the G8 have expressed support for
the dialogue between the Chinese government and representatives of the
Dalai Lama to resolve ongoing differences.
The cause of this peaceful struggle-the full expression of the Tibetan
religious, cultural, and linguistic identity within China-is
internationally acknowledged as the only way to achieve stability across
With this overwhelming backing, the G8 summit is truly the time to
rally these voices into common cause to encourage the Chinese
government to seize the chance to reach a peaceful solution to the
In addition to advancing the dialogue, there are a number of other
measures that can be pursued within the G8 context in order to provide
tangible benefits for Tibetans.
It's essential that G8 leaders make an unequivocal representation to
President Hu Jintao over China's lack of fair judicial
process, religious repression, and continued human-rights abuses
against Tibetan and Chinese citizens alike.
Collective pressure encouraging reform to China's policies of economic
development and social services in Tibet, and an
offer of assistance in developing appropriate implementing strategies,
could also do much to address legitimate Tibetan
grievances and aid in alleviating Tibet's widespread poverty.
While the Chinese government has invested billions into development
and subsidies in Tibet, few of these projects have raised the standard
of living for most Tibetans. This is due to the nature of development
projects in Tibet, which are often designed to benefit outside
investors and migrants.
What is needed is meaningful consultation in which Tibetans are given
the necessary information, including all assessment reports, to reach
an informed opinion as to whether a project is in their best
Consultations should engage all stakeholders. Citizens should be free
to express their dissent free from coercion, and with the free,
prior, and informed consent to proceed resting with the Tibetan people
Also neglected in China's development plans for Tibet have been
improvements in basic social services-most visible the lack of
adequate and accessible health care. Health-care costs are
prohibitively expensive for most Tibetans. This is compounded by a
lack of nurses and doctors capable of speaking Tibetan to their
G8 members can respond by assisting in providing professional training
for Tibetans in the health-care field and pressing the Chinese
government to subsidize health-care costs.
Training for Tibetan professionals should include teacher training,
but any investment in education in Tibet must be wedded to the
broad-based strengthening of Tibetan rural communities, including the
provision of local infrastructure such as electricity, running water,
and telephone services.
Innovative education models have demonstrated that when a commitment
to Tibetan cultural traditions and Tibetan language use exists,
Tibetan parents and teachers will become motivated and students will
perform well above expectation.
Finally, Tibet-which China considers its "number one water
tower"-provides water to 10 downstream nations. Tibet is indispensable
to China's ability to successfully implement global climate-change
G8 leaders should urge China to undertake international assessments of
changes in the Tibetan Plateau's ecosystems, water resources, and land
use policies; ensure the participation of Tibetans in decision-making
and management of the area's natural resources; and encourage
multilateral collaborative decision-making regarding the plateau's
water resources, including all regional and local stakeholders.
It's time to move beyond the traditional statements of support for
Tibet that countless countries have made. In order to achieve real
progress, Tibet must be made a substantive and results-oriented part
of the peace and security agenda at the G8 to bring about lasting
solutions to these issues upon which the very existence and identity
of the Tibetan people depend