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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Step up to plate, Dalai Lama envoy tells Japan

May 23, 2009

By JUN HONGO, Staff writer
Japan Times
May 21, 2009

Japan should have the courage to play a
constructive role in realizing a mutually
acceptable solution with China for Tibetan
autonomy, an envoy to the Dalai Lama said Wednesday in Tokyo.

Kelsang Gyaltsen, the Dalai Lama's representative
in Europe and one of Tibet's negotiators with
Beijing, said the Japanese public has shown great
support for the Tibetan people and its refugees
but its government remains hesitant to take a stand.

As a democratic state, Japan should "reflect the
public sentiment of the Japanese population," he
said at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of
Japan, adding that the situation in Tibet is an
Asian political issue over which Tokyo has a strong influence.

Although the Dalai Lama has not sought
independence from China but merely the
preservation of Tibetan culture and religion
through autonomy, Beijing has labeled him a
separatist. China also handed death sentences to
Tibetans for allegedly instigating deadly fires
during the anti-China protests held in Lhasa in
the runup to the Beijing Olympics last year.

Tibetans are seeing "the harshest wave of
repression since the days of the Cultural
Revolution," Gyaltsen said. The international
community must keep a watchful eye on the Dalai
Lama's homeland to act as a restraining influence
on the Chinese authorities cracking down on the region, he said.

"Our immediate and foremost concern is opening up
Tibet" to the international community and the media, he said.

Regarding negotiations with China, Gyaltsen, who
has led eight formal meetings with Beijing,
acknowledged that the talks are at a stalemate.
But Tibet is making its views known to the world
and is making an effort to reach out to the Chinese public.

There can be meetings with Chinese and Tibetan
citizens and regular grassroots forums to
exchange views and information, he said, adding
that the Tibetan government in exile is producing
more Chinese translations of its publications for
"better understanding by our Chinese brothers and
sisters on what Tibet is and how the Tibetans see their own culture."

Gyaltsen said that Tibet also encourages its
younger people in exile to study Mandarin and
Chinese history to better understand Chinese thinking.
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