The Middle Way Approach has succeeded in many ways, including allowing contact with Tibetans in Tibet and multiple rounds of dialogue with the Chinese leadership. It is mainly due to the policy that the Tibet issue continues to enjoy overwhelming support not only from the international community but also from the Chinese people.
The Middle Way Approach enabled direct contact between the Tibetan leadership and the Chinese government in 1979, which lead to four fact-finding delegations of exiled Tibetans who travelled extensively within Tibet. The fact-finding delegations visited Lhasa, Shigatse, Lhokha, Kongpo Nyingtri, Sakya, Lhuntse, Tsona, Tsethang, Gyangtse, Choekhorgyal, Sangagchoeling and YartokNakartse in U-Tsang; Kanlho, Siling, Golok, Malho, Ngaba and Zoege in Amdo; Nagchu, Chamdo, Dege, Kardze, Nyarong, Gyalthang and Markham in Kham. In 1982 and 1984, Chinese leaders met exploratory delegations from Dharamshala for talks in Beijing. Between 2002 and 2010, nine rounds of formal talks and one informal meeting took place between the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and representatives of the Chinese leadership. To date, thousands of students, monks and nuns have been able to study in exile, contributing to the preservation of Tibetan culture and religion.
The Middle Way Approach enables many governments to support a solution-oriented Tibet policy and help them raise the grave and urgent problems of Tibet in their dialogue with China. After President Barack Obama’s meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in July 2011, the White House applauded “the Dalai Lama’s commitment to non-violence and dialogue with China and his pursuit of the Middle Way Approach” and encouraged the relevant parties to engage in “direct dialogue to resolve long-standing differences.” The Middle Way Approach has enjoyed the strongest international support as the most viable option to address the current situation inside Tibet. Many national governments have officially stated their support for the Middle Way Approach, including the U.S. India, Britain, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. In the past two years alone, declarations, resolutions and motions of support for the Middle Way Approach have been passed in parliaments in the U.S., European Union, France, Italy, Japan, Australia, Brazil and Luxembourg, amongst others.
The Middle Way Approach gains more support every year from the Chinese community including intellectuals and artists such as Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned Nobel Laureate, who was a one of the co-authors of an open letter in 2008 that expressed support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s peace initiatives. Since then, more than1,000 articles and opinion pieces have been written by Chinese scholars and writers supporting dialogue to resolve the issue of Tibet. These include a report by the Beijing-based legal NGO, the Gongmeng Constitutional Initiative, describing the grievances of the Tibetan people and calling for policy review.
In 2012, 82 Chinese NGOs based in 15 countries sent a petition to the United Nations, the European Union, various parliaments and governments, exhorting them to “urge the Chinese government to start negotiations as soon as possible.” The Middle Way Approach has received the support of a number of leading Chinese intellectuals including Wang Lixiong, a well-known writer, Zhang Boshu of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and constitutional expert, Ran Yunfei of Sichuan Literary Periodical, Yu Haocheng, a senior member of the Communist Party and legal expert based in Beijing, Su Shaozhi, former economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Yan Jiaqi, close aide of former CCP Party Secretary Zhao Ziyang.
To put into effect the Middle Way Approach, global leaders who have called for dialogue include U.S. President Barack Obama, former U.S. President George Bush, High Commissioner for UN Human Rights Navi Pillay, High Representative for European Union Foreign Affairs/Security Policy/Vice-President of European Commission Lady Catherine Ashton, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Stephan Harper, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Taiwanese President Ma Ying- jeou.
After President Barack Obama’s meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 16 July 2011, the White House applauded “the Dalai Lama’s commitment to non-violence and dialogue with China and his pursuit of the Middle Way Approach,” and encouraged “direct dialogue to resolve long-standing differences”, saying “that a dialogue that produces results would be positive for China and Tibetans.”
The Middle Way Approach has been supported by a number of Nobel Peace Laureates such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Elie Wiesel and Jody Williams of the U.S., Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, Lech Walesa of Poland, Shirin Ebadi of Iran, Rigoberta Menchú Tum of Guatemala, José Ramos Horta of East Timor, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel of Argentina, Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Ireland, and Betty Williams of the U.K.
In an open letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao sent by a group of 12 Nobel peace laureates in 2012, they said: “The people of Tibet wish to be heard. They have long sought meaningful autonomy, and chosen negotiation and friendly help as their means of attaining it. The Chinese government should hear their voices, understand their grievances and find a non-violent solution. That solution is offered by our friend and brother His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who has never sought separatism, and has always chosen a peaceful path. We strongly urge the Chinese government to seize the opportunity he provides for a meaningful dialogue. Once formed, this channel should remain open, active and productive. It should address issues that are at the heart of the current tension, respecting the dignity of the Tibetan people and the integrity of China.”