ASSOCIATION OF WORLD CITIZENS
OFFICE TO THE UNITED NATIONS – GENEVA
THE CHIEF REPRESENTATIVE
H. E. Mr. Li Baodong
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
of the People’s Republic of China
to the United Nations Office at Geneva
Chemin de Surville 11
C. P. 85
1213 Petit-Lancy 2
March 15, 2008
The Association of World Citizens would like to join in with many others, both governments and non-governmental organizations, in calling for respect for human rights and the rule of law in dealing with the current demonstrations in Lhasa and other Tibetan-majority areas.
World Citizens have always stressed the need for broadly-based democratic institutions through which people may express their ideas and proposals for change. As necessary as fair elections are for good governance, such broadly-based institutions need to be more than periodic elections to government institutions. That is why World Citizens have stressed the role of civil society and the need for a multitude of social groups so that many views can be expressed.
When such institutions of civil society are limited, when the press and the media are not pluralistic, then people will express their views in demonstrations and protests which can become violent both through the actions of protesters and of the police and security forces. That is what we see today in different parts of Tibet. Because of visitors, there is more reporting from Lhasa, but we understand that there have been demonstrations and repression in other Tibetan-majority areas.
Many Tibetans feel that their aspirations are not taken into consideration, their culture is not respected, and that they are marginalized in the process of economic development. Many Tibetans believe that the current political structures in the Tibet Autonomous Region do not adequately reflect their views. Thus, aspirations are articulated from the more traditional sources of authority, that is, the monks from the leading monasteries.
The current unrest is a sign that the social order is not healthy. There is Tibetan resentment against Han workers and Hui merchants living in Lhasa.
Thus, we encourage care and respect for all individuals in the restoration of order. However, more important beyond the short-term issues concerning arrests and fair trials, there is the longer-range need to create representative governmental institutions in which Tibetans have the possibility to express their views. There is also the need to develop civil society institutions to carry out social, cultural and economic activities for the benefit of all.
World Citizens responded actively to the Buddhist monk-led demonstrations for the rule of law in Myanmar last September and October. The world is now watching as monks again lead a broad effort for freedom of thought and social justice.
We are sure that the Government of the People’s Republic of China will follow internationally-recognized standards of human rights in the current situation and will also undertake a serious study of the reforms needed in Tibet.
Prof. René Wadlow
Chief Representative to the United Nations – Geneva
Association of World Citizens