Vote To Be Held On Next Tibetan Leader
(AP, November 27, 2007 India)
The Dalai Lama said the Tibetan people will hold a referendum before he dies to decide whether a new system of leadership would better serve the struggle for self-determination of Tibet. China has angrily condemned the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s proposal, saying it subverted centuries of Buddhist tradition. Just what form the referendum will take was not immediately clear. But the Dalai Lama’s proposal could be a major change in the centuries-old system to choose the spiritual and political head of the Tibetans. “If people feel that the institution of the Dalai Lama is still necessary, it will continue,” he told reporters during a gathering of religious leaders from around the world in this northern Indian city. The Dalai Lama said the vote would be held among all traditional Tibetan Buddhists along the Himalayan range including China, Nepal, India and Mongolia. He gave no timeframe, saying “according to my regular medical checkup, I am good for another few decades.” For centuries, the search for the reincarnation of religious leaders, known as lamas — including the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual head — has been carried out by Tibetan monks following the leaders’ deaths. Tibetans fear China will control the search for a successor once the Dalai Lama dies, further eroding the Himalayan region’s unique Buddhist culture. Those concerns were heightened in August when Beijing moved to tighten its grip over Tibetan Buddhism by asserting the officially atheistic communist government’s sole right to recognize Buddhist reincarnations of the lamas that form the backbone of the religion’s clergy. The Tibetan leadership in exile has begun exploring several possible ways to prevent this. First, a referendum would be held to decide if Tibetan Buddhists want to continue with the Dalai Lama system. If they did, the Dalai Lama said he would either be reincarnated after his death outside China or he would choose a new Dalai Lama before he died. “The very purpose of reincarnation is to carry out the tasks of the previous life that are not yet achieved,” the Dalai Lama said. “If I die while we are still refugees, my reincarnation, logically, will come outside Tibet, who will carry out the work I started.” The Tibetan spiritual leader also raised the possibility of naming a new Dalai Lama while he was still alive. However, the Dalai Lama, acknowledged that the Tibetan exile leadership had not yet decided exactly what course to follow. “Serious detailed discussions have not yet started,” he said. The Dalai Lama, who has worked to make the Tibetan exile leadership more democratic, acknowledged his death would be difficult for many Tibetans. “If I die today, there will be some setback to the Tibetan struggle,” he said “But the Tibetan spirit will not go away with my death.”
Dalai Lama Wants To Name A Successor In Life
(AP, November 23, 2007)
The Dalai Lama expressed his desire to choose a successor even if life, rather than wait for reincarnation, as required by old customs. According to the AP, referring to the Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun, this decision the Buddhist leader took after China announced its intention to approve the nomination of the next Dalai Lama. During a visit to Japan he said that he may appoint the successor himself or hold elections among senior Tibetan monks. According to a tradition, after death of the Dalai Lama monks will search for his new incarnation. After a series of tests, they chose the child, who will be raised further as the future Lama. Dalai Lama XIV, the current spiritual leader of Buddhists, was forced to flee Tibet and live in exile in India, where he is the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile. Chinese authorities have accused the Dalai Lama of supporting Tibetan separatists. During the second half of XX century Tibet is fighting for the independence, or the establishment of autonomy from China.
The Dalai Lama’s Award Ceremony Broadcast Live To Tibet
(Washington, D.C., October 17, 2007)
As Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama received the Congressional Gold Medal today, Voice of America (VOA) broadcast the award ceremony and the Dalai Lama’s acceptance speech live to Tibet via radio, television, and the Internet. The same broadcast included videotaped testimonials of the heads of all six sects of Tibetan Buddhism. The Congressional Medal ceremony will be rebroadcast in several formats to Tibet and elsewhere in China and will be available for viewing at www.voanews.com/tibetan/. In an interview with VOA yesterday, the Dalai Lama expressed support for the Burmese democracy movement, saying that he admired the recent efforts of Buddhist monks and adding that their cause was just. He urged Buddhist members of Burma’s military government to remember the Buddhist teachings of “compassion” and “love” as they confront these situations. Speaking about the ongoing talks with the Chinese government about the status of Tibet, the Dalai Lama told VOA that progress made during earlier rounds of discussion had eroded. “It is difficult to judge things at the moment,” he said. “During the last round, the sixth session, they seemed to have hardened their position and attitude.” He reiterated that he is seeking autonomy for Tibet, not independence, a position unpopular with many in the Tibetan community. The Dalai Lama also revealed that his successor might be chosen by a group of senior monks or appointed by himself personally, rather than through the traditional method of reincarnation. In July 2007, Chinese authorities issued a regulation that requires all reincarnations – including the Dalai Lama – to be approved by the government. The interview with the Dalai Lama was broadcast yesterday on VOA in Tibetan and Mandarin. VOA broadcasts to China in Tibetan, Mandarin, Cantonese, and English via short-wave radio, medium wave radio, satellite television, and webcasts. Programs and schedule information are available online at www.voanews.com/tibetan/ and www.voanews.com/chinese/
Dalai Lama Renews Calls For Tibetan Autonomy
(IANS, Vienna, August 19, 2007)
On the last day of his participation in a think tank meeting in Austria, the Dalai Lama reiterated the “wish of six million Tibetans for real autonomy”. The wish for autonomy was closely connected with concerns about Tibet’s environment, he was quoted as saying by the Austrian press agency. While not being generally opposed to modernization, this must not be used for exploiting Tibet’s resources and speeding up population transfer, he said. He warned that Tibetans already were a minority in their own country, making survival of Tibetan Buddhism very difficult. He expressed hope more Chinese Buddhists would come to Tibet, than Chinese only wanting to make money. Regarding speculation over his possible return to Tibet from Indian exile, the Dalai Lama said on that day he would stop being the Tibetan head of state and put his fate in the hands of the Tibetan authorities. He had been preparing for that step since democratizing the exile government in 2001. “I am already half retired,” the Nobel Peace Prize laureate said. The 14th Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of all Tibetan Buddhists, had participated in a meeting between religious leaders and philosophers in Austria since Monday. Speaking to journalists at the sidelines of the meeting, the Dalai Lama said he might meet Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer Thursday.
Rendering Unto Dalai Lama What Is His
(By Frank Ching, Special to The China Post, August 22, 2007)
China announced last month new regulations governing Tibetan Buddhism, including a stipulation that senior monks, known as “living Buddhas,” cannot be reincarnated without government permission. “The reincarnation of living Buddhas must undergo application and approval procedures,” says the new regulation. “Living Buddha” reincarnations with a “particularly great impact,” such as presumably of the next Dalai Lama, “shall be reported to the State Council for approval.” The new regulations, which come into effect Sept. 1, were issued by the State Religious Affairs Bureau under the State Council, which implements religious policy set by the Communist Party. Its director, Ye Xiaowen, far from being a religious leader, is an alternate member of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, and hence, by definition, an atheist. It is odd that the atheistic Communist Party should give itself religious authority — including the right to decide when a reincarnation is valid or invalid, legal or illegal. Clearly, the new regulations are meant to ensure the Chinese government’s control over future Tibetan religious leaders, in particular future Dalai Lamas. The current Dalai Lama is 72 years old and lives in exile in India, beyond Beijing’s control. This is a situation that Beijing wants to change. Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of being a separatist who advocates Tibetan independence. Not surprisingly, therefore, an article in the new regulations declares: “Reincarnating living Buddhas should respect and protect the principles of the unification of the state….” It also stipulates that the process of choosing reincarnations of living Buddhas cannot be influenced by persons or organizations outside China. This means that the Dalai Lama, the highest spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, is barred from the process. The new regulations mean that the Chinese government will not recognize reincarnations outside the country. The Dalai Lama has said that if the present situation regarding Tibet remains unchanged — that is, a Tibet that does not enjoy true autonomy — he will choose to be reincarnated outside Tibet. But even though the Dalai Lama has numerous supporters both in Tibet and overseas, his passing will be a great blow to the Tibetan cause. Even though his followers may designate a Tibetan boy born in exile as the new Dalai Lama, it will be many years before that person is in a position to exercise leadership and be influential internationally. In the meantime, Beijing will use its own methods to choose the next Dalai Lama. And that boy will be brought up and tutored under the eye of the Chinese government. Meanwhile, many Tibetans in China will have little choice but to accept the officially designated successor. The new regulations make official something that has been China’s position for years. In 1995, for example, the Dalai Lama endorsed the designation of a boy in Tibet as the reincarnation of the last Panchen Lama, who had died in 1989. But the Chinese government picked a different boy and declared him the Panchen Lama’s real reincarnation. Beijing has defended its involvement in Tibetan religious affairs by citing precedents going back to the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368) of the Mongols and the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) of the Manchus. The title “living Buddha” was first conferred on a Tibetan religious leader in the 13th century by Kublai Khan, the Mongol leader who founded the Yuan dynasty. But there is a difference. The Mongols, who governed China during the Yuan dynasty, made Lamaist Buddhism the official religion and hence had the greatest respect for Tibetan religious leaders. Similarly, during the Manchu (Qing) dynasty, the emperor was a patron of the Dalai Lama. While no doubt the religious activities of Mongol and Manchu rulers were to some extent a cloak for justifying their imperial ambitions, they did purport to uphold and revere the traditions and beliefs of their various subjects. The situation today, however, is one in which the Communist Party, whose state religion is atheism, cannot be seen as either a believer in Buddhism or a patron of the faith. It is simply the state extending its authority into religious affairs. This is similar to the current standoff between China and the Vatican, where Beijing insists on its right to appoint bishops. Ultimately, it all boils down to a matter of control. The Chinese government is unwilling to share power, even over religious matters. On this point, a biblical injunction seems appropriate: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”
Bridgeton Man’s Tomatoes Help Tibet
(BRIDGE, July 16th, 2007)
Bridgeton resident Belford Blackman is growing and selling tomatoes for a cause, attempting to help persecuted Buddhists in Tibet. A practicing Tibetan Buddhist himself since 1981, Blackman plans to send all of the proceeds of the operation to the Dalai Lama, with a note recommending that the money be put towards helping Tibetan refugee women and children. “It’s very important people know what’s going on in the world,” said Blackman. “I’m doing something to help people who I see are suffering.” According to Blackman, the Chinese government has been attempting to conquer the people of Tibet, and the Buddhists there are not allowed to practice their religion. Men are taken from the temples and put in prison and tortured. This situation, says Blackman, creates a refugee population of Tibetan children and their mothers, with no one to take care of them. According to Blackman, many escape to Northern India, but some sort of relief is needed. To organize that relief, Blackman started Nepal Tomato, named after the Tibetan refugees who flee to Nepal, bringing precious tomato seeds. He has planted 1,350 tomato plants in the yard of his house, and has made arrangements with local markets in the Bridgeton area to sell his tomatoes. Blackman will also use some tomatoes to make gazpacho, which will be served at a local seafood restaurant. In addition, the tomatoes will be sold in front of Blackman’s house, All of the proceeds will go directly to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan refugees. Also, Blackman has been making the rounds visiting local religious leaders in area, including Catholics, Protestants and Jews, getting support for the charity. The tomatoes will be ready for the market in about 10 to 14 days, according to Blackman, but the plants are coming along well. “They’re getting gigantic, and I’m going to continue growing them until the season ends,” he said. Blackman plans to make the project a seasonal, yearly endeavor, citing the importance of the cause. “They need help over there,” said Blackman. “Hopefully this will provide some of the relief they need.”
By Jason Laday – email@example.com
Dalai Lama Turns 72
(Dharamsala, July 6th, 2007)
The Dalai Lama turns 72 on July 6. As he ages the Dalai Lama is making a profusion of statements about his own mortality. At times, he has indicated that he might choose to be the last Dalai Lama; and even proposed ‘democratic’ modalities for ending the institution. But he has also said: “If I die in exile, and if the Tibetan people wish to continue the institution of the Dalai Lama, my reincarnation will not be born under Chinese control … That reincarnation … will be outside, in the free world. This I can say with absolute certainty.” He has also stated that the purpose of his repeated incarnations is to continue unfinished work and, as such, if the situation in Tibet remains unchanged, it is very likely that he will be reborn to finish his work. The Dalai Lama is the 14th in an ‘incarnate’ successive lineage of Tibetan lamas launched in the 16th century when the name ‘Dalai’ (‘Ocean’) was given to a ‘Living Buddha’ of the Gelug sect, and from 17th century the Dalai Lama was the head of the Tibetan government. Winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, the 14th Dalai Lama has been primarily responsible for keeping the Tibet question active Internationally. In his major pronouncements, the Dalai Lama has taken the stand that Tibet has been an independent nation from ancient times; that it has been a strategic ‘buffer state’ in the heart of Asia guaranteeing the region’s stability; that it has never ‘conceded’ its ‘sovereignty’ to China or any other foreign power; that China’s control over Tibet is in the nature of ‘occupation’ by a ‘colonial’ power; and that ‘the Tibetan people have never accepted the loss of national sovereignty.’
Dalai Lama Remains Hopeful That China Would Change Its Attitude Towards Tibet Within His Lifetime
(MELBOURNE, June 14th, 2007)
Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader Dalai Lama said that Tibetan culture faced decimation within 15 years unless pressure can be exerted on China to accept Tibetan autonomy, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The Dalai Lama said he was a surprisingly popular figure among some ordinary Chinese, but was considered an enemy of the state by the Chinese Government. He accused China of distorting Tibet’s modest claims for autonomy and of mistaking it as a push for independence. Despite decades of fruitless diplomatic negotiations, the Dalai Lama said he remained hopeful, even optimistic, that China would change its attitude towards Tibet within his lifetime. The Nobel laureate was to meet with Sydney business leaders where he was to impart his wisdom for alleviating personal stress and global tensions. The spiritual leader’s visit was overshadowed by a warning China issued soon after Prime Minister John Howard agreed to meet him this week. Beijing said it could harm relations between the two nations. In an address to the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday, the Dalai Lama said Tibetans would better manage their own environment and internal affairs, but China could retain control of foreign affairs and defense. “Just to suppress with more military is only a temporary answer,” he said. “Our approach is not seeking independence, not seeking separation regardless of past history.”
Colossal Guru Rinpoche’s Statue Demolished in Tibet
(TCHRD, June 05, 2007)
The Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) received confirmed information from reliable sources that, in mid May 2007 Chinese People’s Armed Police (PAP) demolished a colossal statue of Guru Padmasambava, popularly known as Guru Rinpoche, of the Samye Monastery, and that rubble from the statue’s destruction is being transported to unknown location according to reports emanating from the area. Coinciding with the Buddhist holy month of Saka Dawa, a convoy of Chinese PAP came to the Samye Monastery and forcibly demolished a nearly completed huge gold and copper plated statue of Guru Padmasambhava. The statue was constructed with the fund of about 800,000 Chinese Yuan generously donated by two Chinese devotees from the highly industrialized Mainland city of Guangzhou in Guangdong Province. The sponsors and the local people were reportedly highly disappointed and saddened by this unthinkable act of demolishing a structure of such religious importance. Samye Monastery is located at the bank of Yarlung Tsangpo River and is believed to be the first Tibetan monastery ever built in Tibet in the year 779 under the able supervision of Tibetan King Trisong Detsen. It was then handed over to the famous Buddhist master Padmasambhava who continued the construction of the monastery. In order to cover up the information from being leaked outside, the Chinese PAP accordingly quickly barred pilgrims, devotees and foreign tourists from visiting Samye Monastery. A huge network of Chinese PAP were deployed around the monastery area. Few local Tibetan devotees after questioning the monks of the monastery about the demolition did not dare to disclose any information. The monastery officials told the devotees that the statue was demolished because a new religious structure cannot be built without official consent. One local Tibetan told TCHRD that, “Tibetans in Lhoka, particularly in Dranang County did not dare to challenge the officials openly but deep inside their heart, people fear and worry that the demolition of Guru Rinpoche’s statue and transportation of its rubble bear a resemblance to the dark era of the Cultural Revolution.”
International Conference Agrees on Roadmap for Peace in Tibet
(EU, May 19th, 2007)
The 5th International Conference of Tibet Support Groups ended in Brussels May 14 after agreeing on a concise action plan that will serve as a roadmap for the Tibet movement for the coming years. The action plan covers four areas: political support for negotiations, human rights, environment and development, and the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, and is described as very powerful and a “great success” – one of the most successful conferences despite the absence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The issue of Tibet is not only the concern of Tibetans, but India’s security is linked with Tibet. 10 major river systems including the Brahmaputra, Sutlej, Indus, Mekong, Yangtze emanate from Tibet. India’s security and environmental future is linked with Tibet. 47 percent of the world population depends on the water flowing from Tibet. China is trying to totally destroy the distinct identity of Tibetans by rapid Sinoisation of the Tibetan plateau by massive migration of Han Chinese population into Tibet. Dalai Lama is prepared to settle for what has been described as the Middle Path or a genuine autonomy. The conference brought 300 participants from 145 Tibet Support Groups and 36 Tibetan Associations from about 56 countries. The Belgian government, under Chinese pressure, requested Dalai Lama to cancel his attendance at the conference. A Belgian trade delegation led by Crown Prince Filip is to visit China next month.
Tibet’s Panchen Lama Turns 18 in Chinese Custody
(FTC, April 25th, 2007)
The boy recognized by the Dalai Lama as Tibet’s 11th Panchen Lama turns 18 today after spending almost twelve years under Chinese captivity. The Panchen Lama, regarded as one of Tibet’s most important religious figures, was abducted by the Chinese state in May 1995 at the age of six and became the world’s youngest political prisoner. China has flatly rejected all requests for information on his whereabouts and well-being from national governments, the EU and UN and it remains unclear what China’s intentions are for the long-term future of the boy.
Dalai Lama’s Public Speeches from Maui Can Be Heard via the Internet
(Maui News HI, April 15th, 2007)
Cutting-edge technology will carry the message of peace and compassion of the 14th Dalai Lama from Maui to the rest of the world through a real-time Webcast that will bring his public presentations on Maui April 24 and 25 to a global audience. Anyone with broadband access will be able to see and hear the Nobel Prize-winning spiritual and political leader’s teachings on “The Approach to World Peace” April 24 and “Eight Verses of Training the Mind: A Buddhist Philosophical Discourse” April 25, 2007.
Population of Tibet hits 2.81 million
(Xinhua China, April 15th, 2007)
The population of Tibet Autonomous Region climbed to 2.81 million last year, up 40,000 from 2005, according to the latest report on the region’s social and economic development. The growth rate averaged 1.17 percent, with a birthrate of 1.74 percent and a death rate of 0.57 percent, said the report, jointly published by Tibet’s regional bureau of statistics and a survey team of China National Bureau of Statistics. It said the life expectancy of the regional population averaged 67 years, compared with 35.5 years in 1950, the year of Tibet’s occupation. While the report didn’t give a breakdown of Tibetans as against other ethnic groups, it said the more than 2.5 million Tibetans made up 92 percent of the regional population in the most recent census in 2003. Tibet’s average is less than three people per square kilometer. The region spans 1.2 million square kilometers, twice the size of France. Tibet had only 1.14 million people in 1950. The death toll in Tibet since the invasion of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in 1950 has been estimated at a median of 600,000. China’s family planning policy, which limits most urban couples to one child and rural families to two, does not apply to Tibetans.
Dalai Lama Says Tibetan Issue Will Not End With His Passing Away in Exile
(CNN-IBN, April 9th, 2007)
The Dalai Lama has said that the Chinese leadership should not hope that the issue of Tibet will end if he were to pass away in exile. In a wide-ranging interview to the Indian TV news channel CNN-IBN, broadcast on April 8, 2007, the Dalai Lama said, “So long the Tibetan people remain, this issue – unless you solve is practically and realistically – will remain.”
Religious repression in Tibet is ‘getting worse’ in 2007
(Reuters, March 10th, 2007)
INDIA – An India-based human rights watchdog has denounced China for human rights abuses in Tibet last year and predicted that religious repression would get worse in 2007. New religious affairs regulations which took effect in January were “designed to harness loyalty to the state from the monastic community and to stamp out the Dalai Lama from the hearts and minds of Tibetan people”, the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy said. “In light of the new regulations, religious repression in Tibet seems set to escalate further in 2007,” the Dharamsala-based center said in its annual report on human rights in the Himalayan region.
Dalai Lama Named Professor At Emory
(AP, February 5th, 2007)
ATLANTA – The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, has been named a presidential distinguished professor at Emory University. It’s the first university appointment the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner has accepted, according to a statement from Emory. Emory is setting up a scholarship in the Dalai Lama’s name for Tibetan students attending Emory undergraduate and graduate schools.
Nobel Laureates Urge China To Free Tibet
(International Campaign for Tibet, February 1, 2007)
Nobel laureate and former Polish president Lech Walesa called for a coalition of nations – that believed in Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement of nonviolent resistance – to prevail upon China to free Tibet. Walesa who led a movement that brought down the communist dictatorship in Poland in 1989, said Tibet’s freedom could not be achieved by the use of military force, but by a change of heart of the Chinese government. His comments came after another Nobel laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, advocated independence for Tibet at a function to award him the Gandhi Peace Prize in Delhi on January 31, 2007. “We thank you (India) for giving refuge to one of the greatest human beings, Dalai Lama, and pray that you help bring about freedom of his Tibet,” – Tutu was quoted by the local media as saying, at the function that was attended by top Indian leaders.
China Rail Link Destroying Tibet: Dalai Lama
(International Campaign for Tibet, February 1, 2007)
The Dalai Lama accused Beijing of using a new railway link to flood Tibet with poor Chinese villagers forced to relocate. “The railway link is a real danger,” said the spiritual leader. Besides destroying the cultural identity of Tibet, the railway, dubbed the “second invasion of Tibet”, was an environmental threat because it was helping China mine at very high altitudes.
Freedom House Rates Tibet Worst in Political Rights and Civil Liberties for 2006
(International Campaign for Tibet, January 18th, 2007)
Freedom House, an independent non-governmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world, has rated Tibet “worst” in terms of political rights and civil liberties in its survey for 2006, released on January 17, 2007.
Global Warming Blamed as Tibet Temperatures Soar
(January 17th, 2007)
TIBET is witnessing an unusual winter this year with day temperatures breaking old records.
Dalai Lama Concerned Over Growing Chinese Population in Tibet
(ANI, January 15th, 2007)
Tibetan spiritual leader in exile the Dalai Lama today expressed concern over the growing Chinese population in Tibet. The Dalai Lama, who spoke on “Ethics in Human Development”, said that Tibetans’ demand for autonomy was being compromised by the Chinese authorities who were deliberately increasing their population in Tibet through immigration in the name of development. “For meaningful autonomy in Tibet, its population should remain largely Tibetan,” the Dalai Lama said.”
News From Tibet, and The World – 2006
UN Monitoring Body Urges UN to Discuss Human Rights Violations in Tibet
(International Campaign for Tibet, December 4th, 2006)
A UN monitoring organization, UN Watch, has urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to consider the issue of China’s violation of human rights in Tibet as it holds a special session on the situation in Darfur.
Beijing 2008: Race for Tibet
(International Campaign for Tibet)
2008 Olympics: A Race for Tibet ICT urges Beijing to end human rights abuses and resolve the issue of Tibet through negotiations with the Dalai Lama.
Dalai Lama Calls for Dialogue on Tragic Global Conflicts
(International Campaign for Tibet, November 15th, 2006)
The Dalai Lama has welcomed an initiative by The Washington Post and Newsweek to begin an online discussion about religion and has suggested that the “dialogue should not only be limited to conversations about different belief systems, but more importantly on how together we can make an effort to deal with some of the tragic conflicts that confront us today.”
President Bush Signs Into Law the Dalai Lama Congressional Gold Medal Act
(International Campaign for Tibet, September 28th, 2006)
On September 27, 2006, President George Bush signed into law the “Fourteenth Dalai Lama Congressional Gold Medal Act,” which authorizes Congress to award the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor.