Washington DC, USA, 10 July 2011 - On July 10 His
Holiness left the hotel in the morning for the Verizon Center to
continue with the preparatory rituals. Later in the morning, His
Holiness departed to the venue of the conference on Democratic China and
the Future of Tibet to address its participants.
Dr. Chen Kuide of Princeton China Initiative, the
organizer, introduced His Holiness at the conference. In his address,
His Holiness mentioned that the Tibetan-Chinese relationship goes back
to thousands of years during which there were occasions when ties were
cordial as well as occasions when there were disputes. He said in
modern times, when he visited Beijing in 1954-55 he experienced a
positive feeling that gave him confidence. He recalled his meeting
Chinese general Zhang Guohua on his return journey to Lhasa from Beijing
in 1955 during which he told General Zhang that when he left for
Beijing the year before he went with trepidation but he was now
returning full of hope and confidence.
His Holiness told the gathering about his interest
in Marxism and socialism and while in China he had in fact expressed a
desire to join the Communist Party of China. However, Liu Geping, then
head of the State Nationalities Affairs Commission, had told him that
there was no need to hurry on this issue. His Holiness joked that his
friend Liu may have known how the Communist Party would fare in coming
years. His Holiness said today the Chinese Communist Party is
confronted with problems like corruption and that the party had become a
capitalist communist party. There were problems not just with regard
to Tibet, but in China in general. These problems need to be solved by
the people, His Holiness said. He added that just as the world belonged
to humanity, similarly China belonged to the people in China and the
ultimate owner of the country is the people.
His Holiness said that in the initial years of the
People’s Republic of China, the Communist Party did enjoy widespread
support among the people, particularly among the working class.
However, he wondered what would be the outcome if there were an
independent survey of the views of the people in China on the Communist
Party. He said he had always maintained that the 1.3 billion of people
in China have every right to know the reality and that 1.3 billion
people in China also have the ability to judge what is right and what is
wrong. He added that implementing censorship and spreading distorted
information were immoral.
His Holiness said that force and violence could not stop the
problems from continuing. He referred to the demonstrations in Tibet in
2008, in Xinjiang in 2009 and now in Inner Mongolia. His Holiness said
what was needed is for truth to be understood and addressed.
|His Holiness addresses the conference on Democratic
China and the Future of Tibet in Washington DC on July 10, 2011.
His Holiness said
that even on the issue of Tibet the reality was not being seen and that
there were distorted information being spread. He recalled the Chinese
authorities terming him as a demon in 2008. Saying that the Chinese
brothers and sisters should assist in resolving the Tibetan problem, His
Holiness said that it was important to understand the truth about the
His Holiness then talked about his devolution of authority to the
elected Tibetan leadership. He said that since 2001 when the process of
direct election of the Kalon Tripa began, he had been in a state of
semi-retirement. After the changes this year, he said the rule by Gaden
Phodrang government had come to an end. His Holiness said that this
year the Tibetans had an election for Kalon Tripa and introduced Dr.
Lobsang Sangay, who was also sitting on the stage, as the winner. His
Holiness said he was born in India, did schooling in Tibetan schools,
did higher studies in Delhi University and Harvard University. His
Holiness joked that he did not know Dr. Sangay’s ability in Tibetan, but
said that he enjoyed his full trust and he was confident that he would
Thereafter, His Holiness answered some questions from the conference participants.
In response to a question about his Middle Way Approach, His
Holiness said that it came about after thorough deliberations on the
short-term and long-term impact with people both in exile and in Tibet
and that it was formalized through majority support of the people. His
Holiness said that intellectuals in China had also supported his
His Holiness said that the new Tibetan leadership has also publicly affirmed its support to the Middle Way Approach.
On another question, His Holiness said that henceforth all political
responsibilities would be shouldered by the elected leadership. He
added that the Chinese authorities, who accuse him of being a
separatist, and specifically the United Front Work Department, who
consider him a problem, should know that he had fully retired. His
Holiness clarified that the issue of Tibet was not that of the Dalai
Lama. He recalled his rejection of the five points of message that the
Chinese Government sent to him in the 1980s to resolve the Tibetan issue
because all these points dealt with his personal matters. He said in
the past he had not worked for any personal status and will not do so in
the future, too.
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama, along with his
interperters and Central Tibetan Administration Kalon Tripa-elect,
answer questions from the audience at the conference on Democratic
China and the Future of Tibet in Washington DC on July 10, 2011.
To a question about
any change of policy away from the Middle Way Approach, His Holiness let
Dr. Lobsang Sangay respond. Dr. Sangay said that he had campaigned for
the position with the platform of Middle Way Approach and the people had
voted for him showing their support for this approach. He added that it
is a hypothetical question on what would happen in the future but it is
up to the people to decide.
His Holiness added that when he first laid out his Middle Way
Approach he had maintained that ultimately, it would be up to the
Tibetan people to decide.
Talking about China’s responsibilities, His Holiness said that the
country had the potential to contribute to the development of the world
and be an important player. He said what was required was respect and
trust by the international community towards China, which was missing
Talking about development of democracy in China His Holiness said
that he thought a more gradual path towards democracy was more
appropriate as any overnight change could result in chaos. What were
needed in China in the immediate future was transparency, end to media
censorship, and a systems of rules that meet international standards.
He said that today whether it was laws or the Constitution they were all
connected to the Party.
His Holiness also talked about the gradual degeneration of the
Chinese Communist Party. During the time of Mao Zedong, His Holiness
said the Party leaders were sincere individuals. He said he wondered
what Mao would say if he saw today’s Chinese Communist Party. His
Holiness said in the past, Mao had termed the Russian Communist leader
Khrushchev as a revisionist. Today’s Chinese Communist Party had become a
greater revisionist, His Holiness added.
To another question, His Holiness talked about his interest in
democracy from his childhood. He said that while in Tibet he saw that
the existing political system was not benefiting the poor and the needy
section of the society. Even though he had set up a Reforms Commission
in 1952 the Chinese officials in Tibet posed obstacles to implementing
the reforms. It was only after coming to India in 1959 that he was able
to launch the democratization of the Tibetan society. Through gradual
development beginning in 1960, we reached the stage in 2001 where the
political leadership began to be directly elected by the people. This
has further developed to the situation that we are in today. Thus, His
Holiness said that Tibetan democracy was something that was based on
over 60 years of experience and not something thought of suddenly.
The two-day conference began on July 9 and is being participated by
around 100 Chinese writers and democracy proponents as well as Tibetans
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama
speaking during the second day of the preliminary teachings at the
Verizon Center in Washington DC on July 10, 2011. Photo/Tenzin
His Holiness then left
for the teaching venue, where he continued teaching on the Stages of
Meditation by Kamalashila as well as the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva
by Thokmey Sangpo. Before going to the actual texts, His Holiness gave
an introduction to Buddhism. Today’s session began with the recitation
of the Heart Sutra in Chinese. On July 9, the session began with the
recitation of the Heart Sutra in Pali and Sanskrit.
The teachings are being translated into English, Chinese, Russian,
Vietnamese, Italian, Spanish, French, Japanese and Mongolian. They are
also being webcast live on www.dalailama.com