Saturday, August 16, 2008


Leading Chinese Intellectuals Ask China to Rethink Tibet Policy
March 22nd, 2008

Leading Chinese intellectuals and writers released a petition today that appeared on several websites in Chinese, entitled 'Twelve Suggestions for Dealing with the Tibetan Situation'. It is a significant indication that Chinese voices are being raised in China in response to the way Beijing has handled the protests that began on March 10. An English translation is published below.

The letter, demonstrating great courage among its 29 signatories, strongly urges the Chinese government to "stop the violent suppression" in Tibet, and appeals to the Tibetan people likewise not to engage in violent activities. It also urges the Chinese government to end the propaganda and news blockade, saying: "The one-sided propaganda of the official Chinese media is having the effect of stirring up inter-ethnic animosity and aggravating an already tense situation. This is extremely detrimental to the long-term goal of safeguarding national unity."

The signatories include Chinese writers Wang Lixiong, Liu Xiaobo and Yu Jie, Professor Ding Zilin, of the pressure group Tiananmen Mothers, as well as other scholars, and several lawyers and artists.

The petition states that the language used by the Chinese government to describe the Dalai Lama is not "in keeping with the situation, nor is it beneficial to the Chinese government's image,", saying: "As the Chinese government is committed to integrating into the international community, we maintain that it should display a style of governing that conforms to the standards of modern civilization."

The leading intellectuals point out that the demonstrations in the late 1980s which led to the imposition of martial law in March 1989, presided over by China's top leader Hu Jintao, were limited to Lhasa, while the protests of the past 10 days have spread across Tibet. The writers says: "This deterioration indicates that there are serious mistakes in the work that has been done with regard to Tibet. The relevant government departments must conscientiously reflect upon this matter, examine their failures, and fundamentally change the failed nationality policies."

The letter urges dialogue between Chinese leaders and the Dalai Lama, so as to "eliminate animosity and bring about national reconciliation", and appeals for calm and reflection among Chinese people in China.

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