Dharamsala: After having dissuaded exiled Tibetans from taking any harsh stand or action against China, Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Thursday took Beijing and its leadership head-on - telling them to ensure greater transparency and freedom in their functioning.
Delivering his annual speech to mark the 52nd anniversary of the Tibetan people's peaceful uprising of 1959 against Communist China's repression in the Tibetan capital Lhasa, and the third anniversary of the non-violent demonstrations that took place across Tibet in 2008, the Dalai Lama said that China and its leaders "must develop greater transparency, their actions corresponding to their words".
"This Earth belongs to humanity and the People's Republic of China (PRC) belongs to its 1.3 billion citizens, who have the right to know the truth about the state of affairs in their country and the world at large. If citizens are fully informed, they have the ability to distinguish right from wrong.
Virtually challenging the Chinese leadership to come clean on Tibet, the Dalai Lama - who demitted his political power to elected representatives of the government-in-exile here - suggested that international delegations be sent to the territory (Tibet) to assess the ground situation there.
"We would encourage the sending of representatives of independent international bodies, including parliamentarians. If they were to find that Tibetans in Tibet are happy, we would readily accept it," the temporal leader of six million Tibetans said.
"Censorship and the restriction of information violate basic human decency. For instance, China's leaders consider the communist ideology and its policies to be correct. If this were so, these policies should be made public with confidence and open to scrutiny," the Dalai Lama, addressing hundreds of Tibetans and foreigners at the main temple at Mcleodganj, said Thursday.
Paying his tributes to "brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for the just cause of Tibet", the Dalai Lama, who has been termed as a 'splittist' by Chinese authorities, expressed his solidarity "with those who continue to suffer repression".
"For more than sixty years, Tibetans, despite being deprived of freedom and living in fear and insecurity, have been able to maintain their unique Tibetan identity and cultural values. More consequentially, successive new generations, who have no experience of free Tibet, have courageously taken responsibility in advancing the cause of Tibet. This is admirable, for they exemplify the strength of Tibetan resilience," he said, in his message delivered in Tibetan language.
"China, with the world's largest population, is an emerging world power and I admire the economic development it has made. It also has huge potential to contribute to human progress and world peace."
"But to do that, China must earn the international community's respect and trust. In order to earn such respect China's leaders must develop greater transparency, their actions corresponding to their words. To ensure this, freedom of expression and freedom of the press are essential. Similarly, transparency in governance can help check corruption. In recent years, China has seen an increasing number of intellectuals calling for political reform and greater openness. Premier Wen Jiabao has also expressed support for these concerns. These are significant indications and I welcome them," he said.
Expressing his concern at the attempts by the Chinese to undermine Tibetan culture, the Dalai Lama said that such a policy "will in the long run amount to the destruction of humanity's common heritage".
Highlighting the plight of Tibetans inside Tibet, he said: "The Chinese government frequently states that stability and development in Tibet is the foundation for its long-term well-being. However, the authorities still station large numbers of troops all across Tibet, increasing restrictions on the Tibetan people. Tibetans live in constant fear and anxiety."
"The Chinese government claims there is no problem in Tibet other than the personal privileges and status of the Dalai Lama. The reality is that the ongoing oppression of the Tibetan people has provoked widespread, deep resentment against current official policies. People from all walks of life frequently express their discontentment.
"That there is a problem in Tibet is reflected in the Chinese authorities' failure to trust Tibetans or win their loyalty. Instead, the Tibetan people live under constant suspicion and surveillance. Chinese and foreign visitors to Tibet corroborate this grim reality."
"In our efforts to solve the issue of Tibet, we have consistently pursued the mutually beneficial Middle-Way Approach, which seeks genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people within the PRC. The lack of any positive response to our reasonable proposals makes us wonder whether these were fully and accurately conveyed to the higher authorities," the Tibetan spiritual leader pointed out.
The Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1989, who escaped to India in 1959 and took refuge along with thousands of other Tibetans, now lives in Mcleodganj, 10 km from Dharamsala town in Himachal Pradesh.
About 110,000 Tibetans live in exile in India.