China Fails To Win Minorities' Trust: Dalai Lama

August 6th 2009

Geneva, Switzerland, 6 August 2009 (AFP) - China's policies towards its ethnic minorities have failed to foster trust over the last six decades and need to be reviewed, exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said Thursday.

"After 60 years, their policies basically failed to ... bring trust," the Dalai Lama told journalists in Geneva, adding that the time has come to carry out a "scientific review of the policies".

He also called on the Chinese government to adopt a more holistic approach in its bid to win trust, rather than just try and buy the support of minorities.

"Only money will not bring (about the) good image of China and trust. Trust is based on transparency and honesty," he said.

He added that "moral authority is very essential" even if China were to become a superpower.

"General harmony is very essential," he said.

"It is our mutual responsibility to find a solution, without separation," he added.

Beijing has not changed its attitude towards Tibet in the wake of last year's unrest there and this year's riots by ethnic Uighurs in northwestern Xinjiang province that left more than 190 people dead, he added.

The Dalai Lama said that although China is well aware that he is not seeking Tibetan independence, Beijing still bandies the accusation for propaganda purposes.

He said Chinese leaders had acknowledged openly in dialogue with Tibetan representatives in 2006 that the Dalai Lama was not seeking a separate state but then intensified its personal attacks later that same year.

"This is not a problem of a misunderstanding of the issue, rather it indicates that it was beneficial to them then to criticise the Dalai Lama," the Tibetan leader said.

The Dalai Lama fled to India 50 years ago as China crushed an abortive uprising in Tibet.

Beijing argues he wants full independence for Tibet, a claim which the Dalai Lama himself has called "totally baseless," insisting instead on an autonomous status for his Himalayan homeland within China.

The Dalai Lama said that he is intensifying contacts with Chinese intellectuals after hitting a brick wall with the regime in Beijing.

"Since our contact with the Chinese government became difficult, then (we are making) efforts to reach out to Chinese intellectuals as much as we can," he told journalists before opening an International Sino-Tibetan conference in Geneva.

The response of Chinese intellectuals has been "very positive", he added.

"Basically, things are changing. I have faith that Chinese intellectuals, Chinese people (will) see things more holistically, more realistically... I am very very optimistic," he said.

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