Agam's Gecko
Friday, March 28, 2008

n international group of Tibetan Studies scholars from universities and institutes across the world have sent a public statement to President Hu Jintao and the Chinese government. The open letter was originally made public yesterday over the signatures of 75 prominent academics in the field of Tibetan Studies. At the time of this writing, 118 further signatories have been added, bringing it up to 193.

Wai International Campaign for Tibet, which has the group's press release as well as the statement.

The open letter may be read, and signed (by those with a bona fide scholar's focus on Tibet only) at a dedicated page: Tibet Open Letter » A Statement by Concerned Tibetan Studies Scholars on the Current Crisis in Tibet. The statement is available to read and sign in nine languages.

Here are some passages that stood out for me; I encourage everyone to read the whole thing (it isn't very long). I'm very pleased that they specifically endorsed the 12-point petition submitted last weekend by a group of Chinese writers and intellectuals.
Over the course of the last two weeks the world has witnessed an outbreak of protests across the Tibetan plateau, followed in most instances by a harsh, violent repression. In the majority of cases these protests have been peaceful. The result has been an unknown number of arrests and the loss of numerous lives, which have been overwhelmingly Tibetan.
As scholars engaged in Tibetan Studies, we are especially disturbed by what has been happening. The civilization we study is not simply a subject of academic enquiry: it is the heritage and fabric of a living people and one of the world’s great cultural legacies.
We express our deep sorrow at the horrible deaths of the innocent, including Chinese as well as Tibetans. Life has been altered for the worse in places with which we are well acquainted; tragedy has entered the lives of a people we know well.
The attribution of the current unrest to the Dalai Lama represents a reluctance on the part of the Chinese government to acknowledge and engage with policy failures that are surely the true cause of popular discontent.
Indeed, the situation has generated widespread shock among peoples inside and outside China as well, and we write in full sympathy with the twelve-point petition submitted by a group of Chinese writers and intellectuals on 22 March.

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