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Lesson in Diplomacy from the Dalai Lama

June 2, 2008

Kent News (UK)
June 1, 2008

"Charming and down to earth" -- how a Kent MP described Tibet's
exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

John Horam, the Conservative MP for Orpington, was given the rare
opportunity to meet with His Holiness and question him on human
rights issues during his trip to the UK last week.

The Dalai Lama told Mr Horam, during a meeting with members of the
Commons' foreign affairs select committee, that Britain was not doing
enough for Tibet.

"He was very good on China," said Mr Horam.

"I said the country is getting more important and more powerful and successful.

"He said 'yes, but it will eventually have to realise that in the
international arena you also have to add moral
authority or people won't respect you'."

The Dalai Lama's visit came after pro-Tibet groups held several
demonstrations during an international relay of the Olympic torch
ahead of the Beijing Games in August.

Protests in Paris and London caused chaos and disrupted the
procession, despite heavy security.

The demonstrations were held after protests against Chinese rule in
Tibet, and the deadly riots spread from the capital Lhasa.

The Tibetan government-in-exile said more than 200 Tibetans were
killed and 1,000 injured in China's subsequent crackdown.

China said Tibetan "rioters" killed 21 people.

But during his 11-day visit, the 72-year-old Dalai Lama, who fled
Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, called
for an end to protests in the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake.

Mr Horam said the Dalai Lama had called for an international inquiry
into the protests because China's media clampdown meant no one could
prove what really happened.

"The Dalai Lama feels he is not going to give advice [on whether
foreign leaders should boycott the Olympics] because he feels the
Olympics are very important to the Chinese," said the MP.

"He does not want to get the Chinese people against him -- he wants
to cultivate a relationship with them so they see his point of view.

"If he advocated a boycott of the Olympics he feels the Chinese
government would portray him as a devil to the Chinese people and he
does not want to give them more sticks to beat him.

"He said he would threaten to resign if his own people resorted to violence."

The Dalai Lama, who seeks autonomy for Tibet over independence and
lives with the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharam-sala in northern
India, told MPs that his people were being subjected to "some kind of
cultural genocide" under Chinese rule.

Mr Horam said: "He wants them to stop this brainwashing."

The Kent MP said the Dalai Lama believed autonomy would bring
benefits to both sides and give the Chinese "spiritual wealth."
Dilution

There has been an increasing influx of Chinese settlers into Tibet in
recent years and fears have been raised that it has been an attempt
to dilute Tibetan culture.

Mr Horam said the Dalai Lama remained, as expected, diplomatic to the
core -- brushing aside suggestions from the MP that the Prime
Minister Gordon Brown should have met him at 10 Downing Street rather
than Lambeth Palace.

He added: "Afterwards we thought he would just leave but he came
round and gave everyone a bow.

He said 'you're the man who was questioning me about Gordon Brown'.

"He said he was not bothered about the meeting and I said he should
be. He giggled."
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