His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrives in Toulouse, France

August 13th 2011

Toulouse, France, 12 August 2011 - Today, His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in Toulouse from Geneva at around 1600 hrs. He was welcomed at the airport by Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen and spiritual directors and members of the Organising Committee, Toulouse 2011. His Holiness also met with a group of the French medias at the airport lounge.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama meets with journalists on his arrival in Toulouse, France, on 12 August 2011. Photo/Alexandra Silva
While speaking to the journalists, His Holiness extended his greetings to the people of France and expressed his happiness to have visited southern France once again. His Holiness told that the purpose of his visit was to carry on with his two lifelong commitments of promoting human values, warm heartedness and religious harmony, which he would be explaining in more detail during his three day long public interactions.

In a reply to question about the difference between his current visit with that of the last many visits to France, His Holiness declared that this was his first visit to France without formal political responsibility. His Holiness said that he was deeply influenced by the ideals of democracy since his youth and reaffirmed his belief of the world belonging to the humanity, and not to any king, religious leader, or a party. Consequently, he feels deep satisfaction and happiness over having voluntarily devolved his political and administrative powers to the elected Tibetan political leader last Monday on 8th August 2011.

His Holiness also said that it was for the first time in Tibet's two thousand year long recorded history that a democratically elected political leader had taken over the helm of political leadership.

His Holiness further stated that there was growing calls for freedom, openness and transparency in China, and even cited the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's recent call for political reforms. Therefore, there is also ground for optimism that significant changes will continue to take place in China with positive effects on the issue of Tibet in future. This is sign that China cannot escape from the current international trend towards more openness, freedom and democracy, He said.

His Holiness is greeted by well-wishers on his arrival at his hotel in Toulouse, France, on 12 August 2011. Photo/Alexandra Silva
While reaffirming Tibet's distinct history, culture, language and identity, His Holiness elaborated on the Middle Way policy of the Central Tibetan Administration in Exile for finding a peaceful solution to the issue of Tibet. He explained that this approach does not seek separation and independence of Tibet but strives for genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people within the framework of the People's Republic of China. His Holiness further elucidated that this approach of Central Tibetan Administration is in the larger interest of the two peoples and is in line with the provisions of and the relevant laws on the national regional autonomy for minorities as enshrined in the constitution of the PRC. This provisions must be fully and faithfully implemented in order to ensure genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people, His Holiness added.

His Holiness left the airport for hotel where he was received by a group of Tibetans, including Venerable Thupten Wangchen who is a member of Tibetan Parliament in exile and many friends of Tibet.

His Holiness will be giving teachings on Kamalashila's Middles Stages of Meditation for next two days followed by a public talk on 15th August. The teaching will be translated into eight languages including Chinese and Vietnamese.

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