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

Letter to TIME's Editor -- re: "The Dalai Lama's Buddhist Foes"

July 22, 2008

WTN
July 20, 2008

Dear Editor,

The remark attributed by your correspondent David van Biema to me
concerning "The Dalai Lama's Buddhist Foes" (July 18th) was taken
wholly out of context, and from a detailed correspondence not
intended for publication.

Asked if Tibetans seeking ID cards in India are denied help from
exile Tibetan officials, I had clearly written "ID cards are not
given out by the exile administration, but by the Indian
authorities". Your selective quotation gave exactly the opposite
impression (the correspondence is below). As I told him, if members
of the Shudgen sect cannot get these permits, this is a decision by
the Indian government, not the Dalai Lama. And I showed that the so
called ID card he showed me as evidence of official discrimination
was no such thing, having nothing to do with any government.

I also made it clear that the Western Shugden group's allegations are
problematic: they are akin to attacking the Pope because some lay
Catholics somewhere abuse non-believers or heretics. The Western
Shugden Group is severely lacking in credibility, since its form of
spirit-worship is heterodox, provocative and highly sectarian in
Buddhist terms and so more than likely to be banned from mainstream
monasteries -- while its claimed concerns about cases of
discrimination in India should be addressed by working within the
Tibetan community instead of opportunistically attacking the Dalai
Lama in order to provoke misinformed publicity for their sect.

Robert Barnett
Columbia University
New York, USA

WTN Note: "The Dalai Lama's Buddhist Foes" article was posted by WTN
on July 18, 2008.
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