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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

In Local visit, Dalai Lama Takes Firm Stance on China

May 1, 2009

By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
The Boston Globe (US)
April 30, 2009

CAMBRIDGE -- The Dalai Lama kicked off a four-day
visit to the Boston area yesterday by
acknowledging China's extraordinary economic and
political might, but said any quest by the
world's largest nation to be considered a
superpower will be stymied as long as China
continues to dodge human rights concerns.

The 73-year-old Dalai Lama alternated between
stern finger-pointing and boyish laughter as he
fielded questions from the news media at the
Charles Hotel. At first, he appeared fatigued,
but he became increasingly animated over the
course of the 40-minute news conference, and as
he rose to leave, he abruptly turned back to
offer a lengthy explication of the meanings of
home and of hope in answer to a reporter's
shouted question about whether he ever expected to set foot in Tibet again.

Perhaps the most pointed moment of his remarks
came when the Dalai Lama, seated in front of
images of doodles and notes drawn by President
John F. Kennedy, appeared to compare the United
States to China, citing the wars in Afghanistan
and Iraq alongside his criticism of China's
repression of Tibetan demonstrators last year.

"I love Mr. Bush . . . as a human being - very
straightforward, very nice person," the Dalai
Lama said, referring to former President George
W. Bush. "Some politicians, some leaders, that I
met were a little bit distant. He is not like
that, he become very close friend. So I love him."

But, he added, in somewhat halting English, "as
far as his policies are concerned, sometimes I
think different. . . . President Bush, I think
out of sincere motivation, bring democracy in
Iraq and Afghanistan, sincere motivation, but the
method: use more force, so counterproductive.

"So, exactly, the Chinese case also. For
temporary, short method, sometimes they use these
violent methods. How can violent method solve problems? Never. Never."

Discussing the current American stance toward the
Tibetan cause, the Dalai Lama said he perceives
"more or less the same policy" by the Obama
administration as that of Bush. He praised
President Obama as "straightforward" and for
trying to reach out to nations with whom the
United States has had tense relations. He said he
did not agree with critics who have charged that
the Obama administration has soft-pedaled human rights concerns.

But the Dalai Lama, who in 1989 received the
Nobel Peace Prize for his insistence on
nonviolence in the struggle by Tibetans for
greater freedom, also acknowledged that he is not
meeting with Obama during his current trip to the
United States, and said he is not certain that
his request for a meeting with the president in October will be granted.

"The People's Republic of China is the most
populous nation, and economically now is very
important, therefore China must be in the world
community . . . good relations is very
essential," he said in discussing why the United
States should press China on human rights.
"Meantime, principles such as human rights and
religious freedom and Democracy and freedom of
speech and freedom of press - these are matters
of principle, so while you are engaging the economy . . . you should be firm."

The Dalai Lama, who is the spiritual and
political leader of Tibetan Buddhism and has led
a government in exile in India for 50 years,
offered warm remarks about Harvard University,
which he first visited in 1979, and will visit
again today with a speech at The Memorial Church
and a tree-planting ceremony in Harvard Yard. He
has cultivated a relationship with Harvard
because of a perception that many the nation's future leaders study there.

During this visit to Boston - the Dalai Lama's
sixth trip to the region - he will also dedicate
a new ethics center, named after him, at MIT;
will discuss the relationship between meditation
and psychotherapy at a Harvard Medical
School-sponsored panel discussion; and will host
two large public events, including an
introductory course in Buddhism, that are
expected to be attended by as many as 13,000
people on Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

"I doubt there is a single Tibetan in Boston who
won't be there - this is a huge deal for Tibetans
to see His Holiness," said Dhondup Phunkhang, a
spokesman for the local Tibetan community, which
numbers about 600. "Tibetans in Tibet risk their
lives to see him, so of course we who live in a free country should go."

At yesterday's news conference, the Dalai Lama,
asked whether, after 50 years with no success in
his quest to win greater autonomy for Tibet,
there is any reason for hope for the Tibetan
cause, acknowledged that, "if we look at issues
locally, then, it is almost hopeless." However,
he said, "if you look from a wider perspective, there is real hope."

He offered several reasons for hope, including
"Tibetan spirit," which, he said, "remains very
strong" despite the passing of the generation
that remembers the Tibetan uprising of 1959. He
also cited "big change" in China, calling China's
ruling party "a Communist party without Communist
ideology" and labeling it as
"capitalist-authoritarian-communist, something like that."

He then offered a quick review of six decades of
post-revolutionary Chinese history, suggesting
that the priorities of the Chinese government
have changed over time, and that "this shows the
Communist leadership have ability to act according to new reality."

"Their ambition is to become superpower," he
said. "It is right. It is deserved. [But] what is
lacking is moral authority. So in order to carry
more effective rule on this planet, China needs
to get the world's trust, respect. Without that, it's difficult."

The Dalai Lama said several times that his
quarrel is with the Chinese government, not the Chinese people.

"We are not anti-Chinese," he said. And he said
he was pleased that several hundred Chinese
writers penned articles critical of China after
last year's arrests of Tibetan protesters.

"These are positive signs," he said. "I feel more optimistic. "

As for whether he will ever see Tibet again, the Dalai Lama said, "Oh, yes."
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