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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

His Holiness Speaks about Faith on Chinese People and Quest for Genuine Autonomy

November 18, 2010

14 November 2010

Hiroshima, Japan: His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave interview to Time Magazine and Kategaho, a Japanese magazine on Saturday morning. In the interview, His Holiness answered and gave many clarifications on various questions raised.


Answering to a question about Tibet's independence and autonomy, His Holiness said that our stand has been very clear since early 1970s, "in fact, during Mao's time, when I returned back from Beijing, I was full of enthusiasm and hope. I even said I want to join the communist party. The 17-point agreement was also based on 'one country, two system'. But Chinese government never kept their promise. By 1959, things became very difficult and we were forced to escape Tibet.


"After all the rehabilitation process, around 1970s, our people seriously discussed about our stand, and we agreed on genuine autonomy as a most feasible approach. Since then our stand has been very clear, we negotiated with Chinese government several times without any result. Special meeting was organised in November 2008, to discuss the future course of action, although there were many who voiced for full independence, majority agreed on genuine autonomy. So we are not seeking political separation, but we need meaningful autonomy to practice our culture and religion," His Holiness said.


On his faith and hope, His Holiness said that when Hu Jintao assumed the Chinese leadership, "I was little optimistic, but nothing changed. In 2008, I said my faith in Chinese government has become thinner, but my faith and hope with Chinese public has increased. Support from Chinese intellectuals is tremendous. 

I am impressed. I very much agree with Hu Jintao's 'harmonious society' concept, but harmony depends on trust and respect. It cannot be forced through use of fear and violence. His goal is good, method is wrong." said His Holiness.


Asked for his comment on Liu Xiaobo winning Nobel Peace Prize and his imprisonment, His Holiness said he very much support Mr Liu Xiaobo, "he has called for open society, transparency and democracy in China, this is good for China in the long run. When Liu Xiaobo came up with Charter-08, I supported it. This Nobel Peace Prize award is international recognition of his effort, it is not about toppling Chinese government. Even Premier Wen Jiabao said about the freedom and democracy. This is good sign," explained His Holiness the Dalai Lama.


About the growing sense of frustration among the people, their demand for independence and the Tibetan issue after him, His Holiness said Chinese leadership thinks that Tibetan issue will have a natural death after him. "This is wrong, Tibet has a long political, cultural and religious history, its language is very rich. There is a growing sense of Tibetan identity. Dalai Lama's institution is 500 years old only, whereas Tibetan history goes back to more than 3000 years. And now, we have an elected leadership based on democratic principle."


In the afternoon, His Holiness attended the second day of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, in which discussion and debate was done on - Progress towards a world without nuclear weapon and consequences of the use of nuclear weapons.


On nuclear disarmament, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, "external disarmament is very necessary, but ultimately it is related to inner disarmament. So long as anger and hatred remain, external disarmament will a have little effect. We also need to think seriously about the concept of 'we and they', this is the source of many problems. We need to work on a way to include all the 7 billion people of this world into the category of 'we'," said His Holiness.


The Nobel Laureates further discussed on the world without nuclear weapon and drafted Hiroshima declaration, which will be announced Sunday to the delegates and the media.       


--Report filed by Tsewang Gyalpo Arya, Office of Tibet, Japan

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