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Letters - AFP gets Tibet issue wrong

December 5, 2007

Taipei Times
Tuesday, Dec 04, 2007, Page 8

The AFP article that appeared in the Taipei Times misquoted me and
mischaracterized the Tibet issue ("Dalai Lama tries to use Olympics to
lever Beijing," Nov. 28, page 9). This could potentially contribute to
misunderstandings at a time when Beijing is paying very close attention
to all reporting on the Dalai Lama and Tibet.

It is certainly true that next year's Olympics are likely to mean a
period of intense interest in Tibet.

But to say that "the Dalai Lama is trying to use the Olympics to lever
Beijing" and is using "high profile events [such as the recent meeting
with US President George W. Bush] ... to raise the stakes with China"
seems driven by the headlines and Chinese rhetoric against the exiled
Tibetan leader, and is inconsistent with the Dalai Lama's
long-established pattern of international travel and high-level meetings.

After all, this was the fourth meeting between the Dalai Lama and Bush,
although it was the first public encounter.

Not surprisingly, Beijing made a strong response to the Dalai Lama's
comments in recent weeks that his successor could possibly be chosen in
his lifetime, by himself or by senior monks. China would prefer to
control the process and has just issued measures that require
reincarnate lamas to be authorized by the Chinese government. And while
the Dalai Lama's comments suggest a departure from the way in which
previous Lamas have been recognized, they are not at all contrary to
Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

By sharing some of the possibilities for the future of the institution
of the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan leader is indicating his strong
sense of responsibility to the Tibetan people and to the authenticity of
Tibetan Buddhism, well beyond his lifetime, at a time when the survival
of the Tibetan religious culture in his homeland is in question.

Kate Saunders
Communications director, International Campaign for Tibet in India
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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