Seattle, WA, USA, 12 April 2008 (The Washington Times) - The Dalai Lama said yesterday that he did not support a boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games. Asked on NBC "Nightly News" whether he wanted the world to boycott the Olympics this summer, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader replied, "No."
When the network asked whether he wanted the leaders of the U.S. and other nations to boycott the opening ceremony in support of Tibet and as a statement against China's recent crackdown there, the Dalai Lama replied, "That's up to them."
"It is very important to make clear, not only just the Tibet case, but in China proper" also, he said, adding that the human-rights situation in China is "poor ... very poor."
Asked what his message to China was, he said: "My main point is: We are not against you. And I'm not seeking separation."
The NBC interview provided the Buddhist spiritual leader's only words yesterday on the political situation in Tibet.
He made no mention of human rights or politics yesterday in his first public appearance since arriving for a five-day conference here on compassion, instead welcoming what he said was a new scientific interest in human emotion.
Organizers say the Seeds of Compassion gathering is essentially nonpolitical, but co-founder Dan Kranzler alluded to Tibet, telling the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader on stage, "The world knows the truth." Organizers of the five-day conference say the Dalai Lama's visit is expected to draw more than 150,000 people to dozens of workshops and events.
An estimated 7,000 people attended the opening session, a dialogue between scientists and the Dalai Lama about early childhood development and compassion, which went smoothly. The mood was lighthearted, with the Dalai Lama often joking during the first two events about his personal life, and reflecting on his own parents.
"I'm happy to be spending time sitting with experienced scientists of compassion," he said. "Compassion is the motivation, but the real factor is action to change."
The Dalai Lama began his U.S. tour amid continuing turmoil in Tibet and loud protests accompanying the Olympic torch's passage to Beijing.
The Olympic torch arrived in Buenos Aires yesterday in the only South American stop of its world tour. Police, security officials and fences kept protesters from the torch on its 8.5-mile route in Argentina's capital.