Join our Mailing List

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

Warm Start To Exiled Dalai Lama's Visit

May 21, 2008

Lucy Bannerman
The Times (UK)
May 21, 2008

The Dalai Lama arrived in London yesterday to begin a politically
sensitive 11-day tour of Britain, delivering his first lecture a safe
diplomatic distance from Downing Street.

Having been snubbed this week by all but one German minister, the
exiled spiritual leader of Tibet was received with more affection at
his first engagement in the City of London. He arrived in a silver
Mercedes to receive an honorary doctorate from London Metropolitan University.

During his visit he will meet the Prince of Wales, David Cameron, the
Tory leader, Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, and the
Archbishop of Canterbury. He will discuss China's human rights record
in Tibet in evidence to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committtee and
will deliver talks in Nottingham and Oxford.

However, unlike on his previous trips, No 10 is absent from his
itinerary. Instead, Gordon Brown will meet the Dalai Lama at Lambeth
Palace on Friday, prompting accusations that the Prime Minister is
kowtowing to China by underplaying the leader's political role.

Yesterday, the Dalai Lama entertained the audience at the Chartered
Insurance Institute's Great Hall with tales of his early education,
delivering a message that featured little direct criticism of the
economic superpower.

Apologising for his "broken English," the 72-year-old said: "In
Tibet, although the Chinese Government is helping modern education,
but then, as you know, the totalitarian system is very one-sided, and
every field is much politicised."

He reserved special praise for ten Tibetan students. "His Holiness
means everything," said Tseten Dor-jee, 23, who is studying law and
international relations. He added that he was disappointed that
Britain and Germany had ignored the political potential of the
leader's visit. "He is not boycotting the Olympics, he is not
treating China as the enemy, so I'm sad that leaders are reluctant to
meet him in that [political] capacity."

John Scott, the university chaplain, said that it was impossible to
meet the Dalai Lama without acknowledging his political significance:
"You cannot separate the two [the political and the spiritual], but
the grace and charity he demonstrates shows [that] you really have to
roll with the punches."


-- Today Meets all-party Commons group on Tibet.
-- Tomorrow Goes to the Foreign Affairs Committee; speaks at Royal
Albert Hall; meets Prince of Wales.
-- Friday Meets Gordon Brown; then five days in Nottingham; public
talk in Oxford.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
Developed by plank