Dalai Lama Urges Patience In Dealing With China

June 1st 2006

Brussels, Belgium, 1 June 2006 (By Raphael Minder, Financial Times) - The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, has called on followers to be patient with his efforts to build relations with the Chinese government, saying that talks with Beijing are making progress.

'I understand that when people see the very slow results [of our discussions], they are a bit discouraged,' he said in an interview with the Financial Times.
 
'But that is wrong. If you look very closely, in fact there are some results gradually coming.  So you need more patience and determination . . . Results will definitely come.'

The Dalai Lama's comments underscore his determination to pursue a conciliatory approach towards Beijing, despite what he described as the ambivalent and contradictory messages by China. 
 
The Tibetan leader said he had received 'mixed signals' rather than a 'clear response'' to a pilgrimage request he made in March, but said it was 'quite possible'' that he would eventually be able to visit China.

Since being forced to leave his homeland in 1959 following China's occupation, he has been heading a government in exile in Dharamsala, northern India.

The Dalai Lama's optimism on the possibility of improved ties with China contrasts with concerns he has expressed in the past that Tibet is being subjected to 'cultural genocide' by Chinese occupiers. 
 
He also said 'more and more Chinese are showing interest and respect for the Tibetan culture''.

Concerning a new rail link between Qinghai province and Lhasa, scheduled to open on July 1, the Dalai Lama toned down some of his recent criticism by saying that 'the rail link in itself is positive, a sign of development''. 
 
But he also said he would be 'watching very closely'' to ensure that Beijing did not use the new transport link to speed migration into Tibet or build a larger military presence there.

Some analysts have suggested that India's recent rapprochement with China has put in doubt the continued presence of the exiled Tibetan government in Dharamsala. 
 
However, the Dalai Lama said that rather than fearing the consequences for Tibet, better relations between Beijing and New Delhi could ultimately help blur sovereignty issues.  He even drew a parallel with the development of the European Union around a Franco-German axis.

'In Europe in the past, sovereignty was the most important issue, but now the common interest has become more important so that is why the EU was created . . . In Asia, there are two parents, China and India, and the others are children . . . The more cordial relationship between these two Asian giants is a benefit not only to Tibet but to all the other countries in the region.''

The Dalai Lama also praised the EU, the US and other western countries for backing the Tibetan cause. 
 
Discussing the level of support from different countries, the Dalai Lama said it was in many ways easier for the EU and smaller European countries such as Norway to help than for the US, because of the 'psychological problem'' for China to deal with 'superpower America''.
 

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