(photo credit: REUTERS)
I wonder if the Tibetans-in-exile in India and several other nations will ever be able to return back to their homeland. Their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has since long been doing his best to end their predicament. One of the finest practitioners of the Gandhian methodology of political struggle in our times, he has long abandoned any demand for independence for Tibet. In 1974 he came forward with his middle-way policy, according to which subjects of diplomacy, defense, communication and finance will be under the jurisdiction of the central government in Beijing and those of culture, education, environment and religion under the provincial Tibetan government in Lhasa. In harmony with the Dalai’s framework, his representatives have presented to Beijing a Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People.
This memorandum complies with the conditions for national regional autonomy set forth in the Chinese constitution and the 17-Point Agreement of 1951. I find there is nothing objectionable about the Dalai’s proposition that all Tibetans be brought under a single autonomous administration. Signing the 17-Point Agreement, even Zhou Enlai, the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, had acknowledged it as a reasonable demand. In 1956, when establishing the Preparatory Committee for the "Tibet Autonomous Region", Vice-Premier Chen Yi pointing at a map said, if Lhasa could be made the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, which included the Tibetan areas within the other provinces, it would contribute to the development of Tibet and friendship between the Tibetan and Chinese nationalities.