Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said on Tuesday that there were reasons to hope for a quick resolution of the Tibetan issue and he had 'full faith in the Chinese people' although the communist leaders had let the Chinese down.
In a statement on the 50th anniversary of the March 10, 1959 Tibetan uprising, the Dalai Lama said he would continue to pursue the 'middle path' approach despite China's crackdown on Tibetans.
He added that a meeting of top Tibetan leaders held in Dharamshala in November last year had affirmed faith in the 'middle path' policy.
The Tibetan government-in-exile, which is not recognised by any country, is based in this hill town in Himachal Pradesh.
"I always say that we should hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Whether we look at it from the global perspective or in the context of events in China, there are reasons for us to hope for a quick resolution of the issue of Tibet. However, we must also prepare ourselves well in case the Tibetan struggle goes on for a long time," the Dalai Lama said.
Addressing hundreds of Tibetans at the Tsuglang Khang or main temple at Mcleodganj, his headquarters-in-exile, the Dalai Lama said, "We are not against the Chinese people. I have full faith in the Chinese people though the Chinese leaders have let us down. Peaceful Tibetans are being treated like criminals."
The Dalai Lama accused China of unleashing repression on peaceful Tibetans who rose against Chinese policies in March last year.
"Most of the participants were born and brought up after 1959, who have not seen or experienced a free Tibet. However, the fact that they were driven by a firm conviction to serve the cause of Tibet that has continued from generation to generation is indeed a matter of pride.
"It will serve as a source of inspiration for those in the international community who take keen interest in the issue of Tibet. We pay tribute and offer our prayers for all those who died, were tortured and suffered tremendous hardships, including during the crisis last year, for the cause of Tibet since our struggle began," he said.
"The past 50 years have brought untold suffering and destruction to the land and people of Tibet. Even today, Tibetans in Tibet live in constant fear and the Chinese authorities remain constantly suspicious of them.
"Today, the religion, culture, language and identity, which successive generations of Tibetans have considered more precious than their lives, are nearing extinction. In short, the Tibetan people are regarded like criminals deserving to be put to death," he added.
The Dalai Lama accused China of trying to see Tibet and China's history from its perspective.
"Since the re-establishment of contacts in 2002, we have followed a policy of one official channel and one agenda and have held eight rounds of talks with the Chinese authorities.
"As a consequence, we presented a Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People, explaining how the conditions for national regional autonomy as set forth in the Chinese constitution would be met by the full implementation of its laws on autonomy.
"The Chinese insistence that we accept Tibet as having been a part of China since ancient times is not only inaccurate but also unreasonable. We cannot change the past no matter whether it was good or bad. Distorting history for political purposes is incorrect," he pointed out.
The Dalai Lama said that the proposals being made by the Tibetans did not come in the way of the Chinese constitution and much of these had been acknowledged as "reasonable" by Chinese leaders like Zhou Enlai in the past.
"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," he said.
"If Chinese leaders had any objections to our proposals, they could have provided reasons for them and suggested alternatives for our consideration, but they did not. I am disappointed that the Chinese authorities have not responded appropriately to our sincere efforts to implement the principle of meaningful national regional autonomy for all Tibetans, as set forth in the constitution of the People's Republic of China," he added.
Sounding optimistic about the future, the Dalai Lama said: "Looking back on 50 years in exile, we have witnessed many ups and downs. However, the fact that the Tibet issue is alive and the international community is taking growing interest in it is indeed an achievement. Seen from this perspective, I have no doubt that the justice of Tibet's cause will prevail if we continue to tread the path of truth and non-violence."