Tibetans Are Not Anti-Chinese, His Holiness Tells Chinese Reporters

April 15th 2008

Dharamshala: Talking to Chinese reporters in Seattle, US, on Saturday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama sought to clarify the wrong impression that Tibetans are anti-Chinese and Han people must be expelled from China.

Some 20-odd Chinese journalists from the United States and Canada, including a correspondent from Xinhua based in Los Angeles and a crew of Phoenix TV attended the meeting.

His Holiness said Tibetans in Tibet should not become a minority and the environment and culture of Tibet should be preserved.

On what Chinese government should do to help resolve issue of Tibet - His Holiness responded by saying - "you can help". China continues to claim that the dialogue could begin if the Dalai Lama stops independence activities, while the whole world knows I am not seeking independence, His Holiness said.

"Please, please, make clear", His Holiness said, "If I have something to hide I would stay away from the Chinese media instead of looking forward to it."

Responding to a question on what message does he has to convey to Chinese leaders, His Holiness said in his 19 March letter to the highest leadership in Beijing, he has appealed the Chinese government to stop the crackdown in Tibet and ensure medical help to injured people.

He said in the immediate period of protests in Tibet, he has appealed Chinese government to allow independent investigation bodies to Tibet to ascertain the truth. His Holiness denied the allegations that he was involved in the demonstrations in Tibet.

His Holiness said independent media teams should go to Tibet to find out the facts without official minders.

His Holiness said: "I want to tell the Central Government of China that the time has come to accept reality and the necessity of a realistic approach. Taking exception of local officials who create distorted facts, His Holiness underlined that Chinese leadership must seek truth from facts."

For Tibet, separation and independence does not conform to the reality, as Tibetans and Chinese have lived side by side for over a thousand years, His Holiness said. Citing example of the European Union, His Holiness underlined that it is in the better interest of Tibetans to remain within the People's Republic of China.

China is a multi-cultural and multi-racial nation with diverse ethnic nationalities and people of each nationality has the responsibility to preserve their culture, said His Holiness. Tibetans have their own unique religion and culture, including Tibetan language, which are worthwhile to be preserved.

His Holiness underlined that the issue of Tibet has to be resolved between Han Chinese and Tibetan people.

Responding to a question on steps to improve understanding between Tibetans and Chinese, His Holiness said he had been encouraging the Tibetans to reach out to the Chinese people. His Holiness said the official contact was established with the Chinese leadership in 1978-79, adding that 1980s was a hopeful period when Hu Yaobang was there. In 2002, we re-established contact with the Chinese leadership and held six rounds of talks till date. During the fifth round, the Chinese side acknowledged that the Dalai Lama was not seeking independence, thereafter, the Chinese position changed and they have hardened position during the sixth round.

His Holiness said as a Buddhists he has interacted with Chinese Buddhists and in the last 10 years many Chinese Buddhists from South East Asia as well as Mainland China have come to attend his teachings. He said he always took the opportunity to meet separately with the Chinese Buddhists from Mainland China, adding that it was better to meet and talk rather than remaining distant.

Reiterating his demand for Tibet's meaningful autonomy, His Holiness said besides a few section of Tibetans, majority of people outside and inside Tibet have supported the "Middle-Way Approach." His Holiness called the policy a realistic approach, which could lead to a mutually agreeable solution.

Reaffirming his support for the Beijing Olympics, His Holiness said after the Tibetan rallies during Olympics torch relay in London and Paris, he has appealed to Tibetans in San Francisco asking them to desist from violence. His Holiness, however, defended the protestors' "freedom of expression", saying, "I have no right to say stop."

In an effort to avoid causing embarrassment to the Indian government, His Holiness said he appealed the representatives of the Tibetan NGOs to called off their planned peace march to Tibet, which they agreed.

His Holiness said the railway linking Tibet with China is a sign of positive development unless it is used for military purpose, exploitation of resources and to bring in Han population. Explaining that Tibetans were not against development, His Holiness said no Tibetan was interested in keeping Tibet backward.

His Holiness expressed concerns that Chinese government, intentionally or unintentionally are carrying out cultural genocide in Tibet. He said he met a Tibetan student from Qinghai in the United States, who could not speak Tibetan. The student told him that local officials give top priority to Chinese language with no facilities to study Tibetan.

The Tibetan studies department in Lhasa University is being neglected and restrictions and political education increased in the monasteries. He said some Chinese authorities see Tibetan Buddhism as a source of separatist activities, he said. In Lhasa today, where there is a population of 300,000, two-thirds of which are Han Chinese with many owning shops. He said thus the local people are compelled to speak Chinese, he added.

His Holiness said he is devoted to his three commitments - promotion of human values, promotion of religious harmony and the issue of Tibet. The US visit is concerned with his devotion to the first two commitments.


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