Final Document of the 2009 Sino-Tibetan Conference 'Finding
Common Ground' in Geneva (August 8, 2009)
Geneva, August 8, 2009
Final Document of the 2009 Sino-Tibetan Conference ‘Finding Common Ground’
A Sino-Tibetan conference ‘Finding Common Ground’ was held in Geneva from 6−8 August 2009 attended by Chinese and Tibetan scholars, educators, writers and human rights advocates. The aims of the conference are to inform the Chinese people and the international community that Tibetan culture and way of life are gravely endangered and that the fundamental human rights of the Tibetan people are seriously being violated by the Chinese regime. In addition, the conference aims to outline effective measures to support the Tibetan people in their struggle to regain their freedom and to sustain and promote its unique culture. In this way, the conference will also respond to the heartfelt remarks made by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in His opening address.
Based on these aims, the conference has reached the following common positions:
I. Fundamental Values and Principles
II. The Origin and Nature of the Tibetan Issue
III. Ways Towards Resolving the Tibetan Issue
IV. Recommendations to the Tibetan Government in Exile
The common wish of this Sino-Tibetan conference is for the Tibetan people to regain freedom and to prevent the extinction of Tibetan culture. We share a fundamental belief: freedom is the highest value; Tibetan culture is a precious treasure among the many cultures of humanity. Without freedom for Tibet, there will be no freedom for China. The extinction of Tibetan culture would not only be a tragedy for the Tibetan people, but would be a disgrace for the Chinese people and an irreplaceable loss for the whole of humanity.
Participants of the Geneva Sino-Tibetan Conference 8 August 2009
A full documentation of the conference is available at: www.tibet-china-conference.org
 This document has been translated into English from the Chinese original. In case of any discrepancies, the Chinese original is the final and authoritative document.
Mr. Chompel Balok
for Chinese & Tibetan:
OVER 100 CHINESE AND TIBETAN SCHOLARS, WRITERS, JOURNALISTS, ADVOCATES TO GATHER IN GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
Switzerland, July 27, 2009 - A unique conference on Tibet, participated solely by Tibetan and Chinese scholars, writers, journalist, advocates and social workers, will be held in Geneva, Switzerland from 6 -8 August 2009. Convened by the International Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association, the conference will be attended by over 100 Chinese and Tibetan delegates from all over the world.
“The objective of the conference is to create a better understanding between the two communities and to explore ways for a peaceful solution of the Tibetan issue,” said Mr. Jonathan Sisson of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation. “This is in the interest of both the Chinese and the Tibetan peoples,” said Dr. Tashe Thaktsang of the Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association. “In addition, it will serve the long-term development of China and contribute to peace and stability in Asia,” he added.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama will give the keynote address. Mr. Yan Jiaqi, a leading Chinese liberal scholar who had served in the Political Reform Commission under the leadership of then Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang in the 1980s, will be a guest speaker. Mr. Yan Jiaqi also served as Director of the Institute of Political Research of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and has written several books, including “A Ten Year History of the Cultural Revolution”.
For centuries, the Chinese and the Tibetan peoples have lived in close interaction with each other, collaborating and benefiting from one another - spiritually, socially, and economically. For the last fifty - sixty years, however, these relations have been overshadowed by serious political disputes.
As the demonstrations throughout Tibet in 2008 showed, there is widespread discontent among the Tibetan population toward the policies of the Chinese government in Tibet. To interpret these events as “anti-Chinese” agitation orchestrated by the “Dalai clique”, as Chinese authorities have done, is to misunderstand the reasons of the demonstrations.
On numerous occasions, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said the Tibetans are not making any demands based on history. In his 10 March 2009 statement he said, “We need to look to the future and work for our mutual benefit. We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China.”
Therefore, the path towards the realization of those rights, however, does not lay in increased strife, but will require the cooperation of all the concerned parties. To this end, His Holiness has been calling for initiatives to increase the mutual understanding between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples.
Irrespective of where one stands on the political issue of Tibet, all of those who care about the future of China are concerned about the increased tension between Tibetans and Chinese. As primary stakeholders, representatives of Chinese and Tibetan civil society have an important role to play in the efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution of the Tibet question. In the recent past, concerned Chinese and Tibetan individuals have taken steps to encourage a better mutual understanding. This has had a positive impact and a need was felt to have a larger gathering to be held in Switzerland given its history of hosting numerous reconciliation events.
There will be a Meet the Press with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the conference organizers on August 6, 2009 at Hotel Intercontinental, Geneva. For more information and accreditation click here: Meet the Press.
for Chinese & Tibetan:
International Fellowship of Reconciliation was founded in 1919 in response to the horrors of war in Europe, IFOR has taken a consistent stance against war and its preparation throughout its history. Perceiving the need for healing and reconciliation in the world, the founders of IFOR formulated a vision of the human community based upon the belief that love in action has the power to transform unjust political, social, and economic structures. www.ifor.org
Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association was founded 25 years ago to supports the Tibetan issue - cultural and social but more and more in political aspects. Supporter of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s non-violent policy and advocating Tibetan people's right for religion, culture, language and identity according to international Human Rights standards. www.tibetfocus.com