Open, free and democratic China is of great importance for Asia

December 13th 2011

Prague, Czech Republic, 12 December 2011 -  “A more open, free and democratic China is of great importance for Asia and the world as a whole”, said the Prague Declaration signed by the six speakers of the Democracy and Human Rights in Asia: One Year after an Empty Chair in Oslo yesterday.

“China needs human rights, democracy and the rule of law because these values are the foundation of a free and dynamic society. They are also the source of true unity and stability. It is clear and obvious that many Chinese have been carrying on a life and death struggle for democracy in China,” said the signatories.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to members of the media in Prague on December 12, 2011. Photo/Ondrej Besperát
The Declaration was signed by former President Havel, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, Nobel Laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Mr. Stéphane Hessel, Co-drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Dr. Jianli Yang Dissident, of Initiatives for China based in Boston, USA.

They called for international efforts to promote awareness and improve progress in human rights across the globe. The Declaration affirms that all human beings have the right to freedom from want and freedom from fear. These rights are indivisible and universal.
With this spirit they said, we have come together to mark the first anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, who – together with many other prisoners of conscience – remains imprisoned by the Chinese authorities.
The declarations said expressions of concern, support and solidarity are of immense importance in sustaining and strengthening the spirit and hope of the people who are engaged in the struggle for human rights and democracy even at the risk of imprisonment and endangering their own lives. It is these people who represent the forces that ultimately will achieve freedom, democracy and human rights.
During the meeting with the media today in Prague, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that it was his moral responsibility to promote human rights and freedom.
His Holiness spoke about his first two commitments in life – inner value and religious harmony. Speaking on religious harmony, he unity and harmony amongst all religion was important. He called on the media to play a greater role in promoting religious harmony and inner value. People must get more information that would lead to greater awareness.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to members of the media in Prague on December 12, 2011. Photo/Ondrej Besperát
In response to a question about dialogue between the Chinese and the Tibetans, His Holiness said that the Chinese say that there is no Tibetan issue but the issue of the Dalai Lama. However, he emphasized that the issue is not about the Dalai Lama but the future of six million Tibetans.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama said the Tibetan people in Tibet are our boss. “We are their free spokesperson. They have no freedom to express themselves so we have to act on their behalf,” he said.
Peoples’ Republic of China he said, belongs to the Chinese people. The 1.3 Billion people of China are the real rulers of China. They have every right to know the reality and judge what is right and wrong. Censorship of the media is wrong,
Recently, he said he received a letter from a Chinese individual who had met a Tibetan on a pilgrimage in China. The Chinese individual had told the Tibetan that the Dalai Lama was a good Buddhist but a splitist.
However, when the Tibetan explained the Tibetan issue, the Chinese individual wrote that he fully supports the Middle Way Approach which does not seek separation from China but calls for genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people. The writer said that if all Chinese citizens knew about the Middle Way Approach, 100 percent of the Chinese would support the Dalai Lama.

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