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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Things are changing in China and I have faith in Chinese intellectuals and people, Dalai Lama says

August 9, 2009

August 7, 2009

Speaking in Geneva, Tibet’s spiritual leader
stresses the failures of China’s minority
policies, cause of misunderstandings and street
protests. He insists that economic development is
not enough; honesty and moral authority are
needed too. He wants to give dialogue another chance.

Dharamsala -- China's policies towards its ethnic
minorities "failed to ... bring trust" over the
last six decades and must change, exiled Tibetan
spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said at a press
conference in Geneva. Beijing, he believes, must
adopt a more holistic approach in its bid to win
trust, rather than just trying to buy the support of minorities.

"Only money will not bring [about the] good image
of China and trust. Trust is based on transparency and honesty," he said.

Beijing has often been accused of repressive
policies towards its ethnic minorities (Tibetans
and Uyghurs, for example), going so far as trying
to eliminate their traditions and language.

China has always countered that it brought more
opportunities and greater economic development to these regions.

For their parts, ethnic minorities have rejected
such arguments, saying that economic development
was meant to favour millions of Han settlers in
Tibet and Xinjiang, to the extent that the
indigenous population is being reduced to minority status in their own land.

Instead for the Dalai Lama "moral authority is
very essential" even if China were to become an economic superpower.

The Tibetan leader is not out to get a quick
condemnation of Chinese repression, but he does
insist that "General harmony is very essential,"
adding that that it "is our mutual responsibility
to find a solution, without separation”.

For Beijing Dalai Lama remains a dangerous
terrorist who wants Tibet’s secession from China.
Tibet’s spiritual leader has instead always
insisted that his demands are limited to greater autonomy for his homeland.

Right now the Chinese in Tibet are engaged in a
systematic crackdown following protests in March 2008.

In the spring of that year, when many foreign
leaders threatened to boycott the Beijing
Olympics, Chinese authorities relented, accepting
to open talks with representatives of the Dalai
Lama, only to renege once the Olympic Games over.

Since talks with China’s leaders are near to
impossible, the Dalai Lama is intensifying
contact with Chinese intellectuals whose response
has been "very positive," the Dalai Lama said.

"Basically, things are changing" in China. "I
have faith that Chinese intellectuals" and
"Chinese people [will] see things more
holistically, more realistically . . . . I am very optimistic," he said.

Meanwhile anti-Chinese resentment continues. Last
month dissatisfaction boiled over among
Xinjiang’s Uyghurs, spilling into the streets,
generating urban unrest that led to more than 190
dead and thousands of injured.
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