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Section D: The Tibetans' Demand For 'Genuine Self-Rule' Does Not Conflict With The PRC's Claim Of Territorial Integrity

The right of self-determination may not conflict with the right of territorial integrity at all if the demand for self-determination falls short of secession. For example, decentralizing power from a central government to regional or local governments ('federalism') can be a form of self-determination. Federalism has long been a model for power-sharing among groups outside the context of a 'people' as such seeking self-determination (e.g., Canada, the United States). It is also an available option short of secession to claims of self-determination, as in the case of Quebec's dispute with Canada, and the relationship between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Other examples include the recent restructuring of the Belgian government into a federal system consisting of Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. Federalism has also been proposed as a model for resolving the situation on Cyprus.

The Dalai Lama's willingness to negotiate for 'genuine self-rule' short of complete independence would resolve the Tibetans' claim for self-determination without impairing the PRC's territorial integrity. 'Genuine self-rule' for the Tibetans would mean actual political control over their domestic affairs, presumably under a democratic system as described by the proposed Constitution of Tibet. The Tibetans would control their political, economic, social and cultural life, and would control their land and natural resources. The PRC would remain in control of Tibet's defense and foreign affairs, thus preserving its territorial integrity.

Genuine self-rule would, moreover, put an end to the abuse of the Tibetans' human rights and fundamental freedoms. It would also enhance international peace and security because, while the PRC would still control Tibet's defense, a self-governing Tibet would provide an economically and socially more stable region at the juncture of China, India and Pakistan than currently exists. Self-rule would also likely preempt a more violent secessionist movement that could result if the PRC continues to actively quash any self-determination at all for the Tibetan people.

(On to IV, CONCLUSION -->)

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