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'Chinese intellectuals have gained better understanding about Tibet'

October 1, 2009

TibetNet - September 30, 2009

Vancouver, Canada - In an interview to Télévision de Radio-Canada and CBC
Television in Vancouver on Monday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said the
Chinese intellectuals have gained better understanding about Tibet, and
underlined that some negative feeling amongst many ordinary Chinese against
Tibetans, since March 2008, was caused by Chinese government propanganda and
wrong information.

Speaking to Ms. Céline Galipeau, a news anchor for Télévision de
Radio-Canada and CBC Television, His Holiness responded to questions
relating to the Tibetan political situation, the status of the dialogue
process and his hope for the future.

In response to a question on whether His Holiness expected any breakthrough
on Tibet given the current situation of China, His Holiness recalled his
support for Olympics for China as he felt the country deserved it. He then
talked about the confusing signal that came from China in the aftermath of
the demonstrations in Tibet. He said on one day there would be a signal
indicating hope while a few days later another signal would be there that
would indicate that there was no hope. His Holiness recalled President Hu
Jintao telling the media just before his trip to Japan in 2008 his
seriousness on the talks on Tibet so at that time we really hoped very much
that the Chinese leadership, particularly those hardliners, may see the
reality and that they may start a more realistic approach.

His Holiness said, "harmony, stability, and unity must come on the basis of
trust". Using force is actually destroying trust, he said. Using force
brings fear, and fear destroys trust. Therefore, His Holiness said, he
thought the Chinese leadership may adopt a more realistic approach. But he
said nothing happened.

When asked whether this meant that the development in Tibet was
counterproductive, His Holiness said that you cannot say. He said that the
Chinese intellectuals have gained better understanding about Tibet.

His Holiness said there were two issues relating to the ordinary Chinese'
negative reaction to Tibetans last year. One was that because of the Chinese
Government propaganda, many Chinese feel Tibetans are showing resentment
even though their government has given them lots of money. His Holiness said
what these people do not know is that they do not understand Tibetan
spiritual values. Tibetans consider money important, but beside money they
also require spirituality, he said.

The second reason is the misinformation that the entire Tibetan people are
against the Chinese people. His Holiness said this is not the case.

Asked about the situation in Tibet today, His Holiness said there were lots
of restrictions on foreign tourists and this could mean that there must be
something wrong and that they have something to hide that was not worthy to
show to the outside world. Otherwise, the Chinese government must invite the
world to show proudly the positive things they claim, His Holiness said.

When asked about Tibetan language and culture, His Holiness talked about the
experience of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region where the native
Mongolian population has already become a minority on account of a large
number of Chinese population.

In Tibet, he said in Lhasa two thirds of the population is Chinese and that
on account of the overwhelming Chinese population in the society, the
Chinese language is becoming the medium of communication. His Holiness said
that on account of developments like this, he had been saying that whether
intentionally or unintentionally some kind of cultural genocide is taking
place in Tibet. He asked, "If Tibetans become insignificant minority, what
is the meaning of autonomy?" His Holiness said, "The preservation of Tibetan
culture is not only in the interest of Tibetan people but also to large
number of Chinese people. Chinese scholars are very much worried about the
degeneration of Chinese cultural values and want to see it revived.
Certainly Tibetan Buddhist culture can help to do that."

When asked to comment on the call in Quebec for separation, His Holiness
said the Quebec people are already using the right of self-determination and
the majority has opted to stay within Canada. He said he had been telling
the Chinese, "If you treat us with mutual respect and mutual understanding
and full trust, then Tibetans will naturally prefer to remain within China."
Ironically, the act of splittist is being undertaken by the Chinese than by
the Tibetans, he said.

When asked how he was going to achieve autonomy since the conditions did not
seem favorable now, His Holiness said, "We can wait another five years, 10
years, 15 or 20 years." He added that as far as Tibetan spirit inside Tibet
is concerned, there is no danger of the spirit disappearing because when
there is more suppression the Tibetan spirit becomes much stronger.

When asked whether he felt concerned by the action of governments leaning
towards China, he said he did not. "My main concern is promotion of human
values and promotion of religious harmony and for that the public is more
important than the government," he said.

He said that the Tibetan struggle is a national struggle. It is not relying
on one person. The 400 year tradition of the Dalai Lama being both the
spiritual and temporal leader has ended in 2001 when Tibetans in exile had
started having elected leadership. Thus, on the political front, His
Holiness said he was already semi-retired.

Concerning the spiritual affairs, he said among the younger generation of
Tibetans in India, a number of spiritually healthy leaders are coming up and
so he did not have any worry on that front.

His Holiness said that a woman as the next Dalai Lama is certainly a
possibility if the circumstance is such that a female Dalai Lama is more
effective.

When asked on his hope for the future, His Holiness said it is for "a better
world, a happier world, more compassionate world." Asked whether he did not
wish for a "free Tibet", His Holiness responded that when the "world becomes
happier, much more open, and much more democratic then Tibet will certainly
get maximum benefit."

Later in the afternoon, His Holiness the Dalai Lama attended a conference on
Tibet under the theme, 'Compassion & Respect: Our Common Future', at the
Four Seasons Hotel. Over 110 Chinese people participated in the conference.

Writer Sheng Xue welcomed His Holiness and laid out the background to their
initiative.

His Holiness began his remarks by referring to the current situation in
China where there was an atmosphere of fear. He said in a few days they will
be celebrating the 60th year of the People's Republic of China, but an
occasion that should naturally be one of celebration and openness is being
seen as a risk with security precaution taking a dominant role.

His Holiness said that change was inevitable in China, but the question was
the nature in which it will take place. He said he was for a gradual
transformation of China. He talked about his admiration for the Chinese
nation. He said he had supported Olympics for China (which he said was
acknowledged by one member of the International Olympics Committee as having
made their task easier in the selection of Beijing) and how he was sincerely
trying to find a resolution to the Tibetan problem under the framework of
the People's Republic of China. He then referred to the lack of positive
response from the Chinese leadership. His Holiness then spoke about his
confidence and hopes in the Chinese people.

His Holiness then answered questions from the conference delegates on issues
like the importance of the Tibetan plateau's environment to the role of
religion and the future of the dialogue process.

Many of the participants seemed moved by His Holiness' remarks with several
of them openly shedding tears. Following the session, the participants
rushed to seek His Holiness' blessings and to be photographed with him.

The conference touched on topics such as "Why has the Tibetan issue become a
hot topic globally?" "Chinese views on Tibet and Tibetan views on China,"
"Current and possible future relationships between Chinese and Tibetan", and
"Compassion and Respect: Our Common Future."

The Chinese participants came from all over Canada. There were Tibetan
participants from Vancouver and Toronto, including some who spoke fluent
Chinese.

Prior to attending the conference, His Holiness met around 500 Tibetans
based in British Columbia, Toronto, Seattle and Portland. The program began
with a song in praise of His Holiness by a group of children, who also
played traditional Tibetan musical instruments. Thereafter, Community
President Ngawang Garie read a brief report.

In his remarks, His Holiness praised the children for their song. He then
talked about upholding the Tibetan identity and asked the gathering to be
mindful of the tremendous hope that Tibetans in Tibet place on them. His
Holiness emphasized the importance of education and encouraged the students
to undergo further education. Turning to the community president, His
Holiness said that if there are deserving students whose parents are too
poor to bear their further education expense, they can certainly approach
the Tibetan Administration for consideration of financial assistance. He
said being a Buddhist is not just a matter of faith, but also of
understanding the philosophy. He thus suggested that the community could
think of inviting Tibetan scholars who are well versed in Buddhism as well
as modern science to lecture to them. He said there were some such
individuals in the Office of H.H. the Dalai Lama, Thupten Jinpa la and
Rinpoche (he was pointing to Yangsi Rinpoche who was sitting in the front
row) who could give such talks.

His Holiness referred to the coming elections for the Kalon Tripa and the
Tibetan Parliament and urged the people to really think over these issues.
He said since 2001 he had become semi-retired and that the political matters
were in the hands of the Kalon Tripa.

His Holiness asked the people not to lose hope. His Holiness said that even
though the talks with the Chinese Government have not seen progress, his
faith on the Chinese people has not shaken.

On Tuesday, His Holiness will be participating in more session of the
Vancouver Peace Summit being organized by the Dalai Lama Center for
Education and Peace.

Report prepared by Mr. Bhuchung K. Tsering of ICT
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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