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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

His Holiness Says "Honoured Meeting with President of Greatest Democratic Country"

February 21, 2010

Report filed by Mr Bhuchung K Tsering of ICT
Central Tibetan Administration (CTA)
February 19, 2010

Washington, DC -- His Holiness the Dalai Lama
began his programme with a visit to the White
House for his meeting with President Barack
Obama. On his arrival at the White House, His
Holiness was received by Ambassador Capricia
Marshall, the Chief of Protocol of the United
States Government and was led to the Map Room.
His Holiness was accompanied by Special Envoy
Lodi Gyari, Representative Lobsang Nyandak Zayul
and Secretary Tenzin N. Taklha. President Obama
was accompanied to the meeting by Presidential
Advisor Valerie Jarrett and Senior Asia Director Jeff Bader.

His Holiness and the President met from around
11:20 till around 12:30 pm. In a statement the
White House Press Secretary said "the President
commended the Dalai Lama’s 'Middle Way' approach,
his commitment to nonviolence and his pursuit of
dialogue with the Chinese government."

His Holiness gave a brief remark to the White
House press during which he expanded on what he
had discussed with the President. (click here to
watch) His Holiness said he felt honoured meeting
the President of the greatest democratic country.
Since childhood, His Holiness said he had admired
America, not as a military power, but as a
champion of human value and human creativity. His
Holiness told the media that he had apprised
President Obama about his three commitments of
promoting human values, promoting religious
harmony, and resolving the Tibetan issue. Female
biologically more sensitive to others’ pain and
suffering and the President agreed with this. I
said I wished that more female should take
leadership role. On the second commitment, he
suggested that while keeping to one’s own
religion people should respect others’ religious tradition.

On the third commitment on the issue of Tibet,
His Holiness said that since 2001 there is an
elected leader who takes the lead. He jokingly
said that usually he introduced the elected
leader as his boss, while spiritually he was the boss of the elected leader.

His Holiness said the President himself inquired
about the issue of Tibet. His Holiness reiterated
his full commitment to the Middle Way Approach.
He said he thanked the President for his
interest. Even before his elections, he showed
his concern, His Holiness said. After his
election, the President continued this concern,
including during his visit to Beijing last year, he added.

In the afternoon, on his way to the State
Department to meet Secretary Hillary Clinton, His
Holiness stopped briefly outside the hotel while
a crowd of Tibetans had gathered to greet him.
Majority of them had come down from New York to
participate in the welcome events that the
Tibetan communities in the Washington, D.C. Area
and New York had planned at the White House
today. These Tibetans showed strong emotion as
His Holiness appeared before them and bursts into
sobs and prayers for His Holiness’ long life.

At the State Department, Secretary Hillary
Clinton was joined in the meeting by Maria Otero,
Under Secretary of State and Special Coordinator
for Tibetan Issues; Kurt Campbell, Assistant
Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific; and
David Shear, Deputy Assistant Secretary.

On his return from the State Department His
Holiness addressed the media gathered outside the
hotel and took some questions from them.

His Holiness talked about President Obama’s
support of his approach. When asked how the
Administration would implement this, His Holiness
said time will tell saying nobody can predict.

When asked what kind of reaction he expected from
China to today’s meeting, His Holiness said he
felt almost certain that there would be some
negative reaction, some criticism, some scolding.

His Holiness said he wanted to tell the Chinese
leadership, to look at every issue in a more
holistic view. He said they can then get fuller
knowledge about the reality. By looking at any
problem from just one side, His Holiness said one
can’t see the reality fully thus making one’s
approach unrealistic. He said it was in this
context that some Chinese policy looks very childish to some people.

When asked whether he felt frustrated to come
back here year after year with so little changing
in Tibet, His Holiness said he did not feel so.
He added that the important thing is that we have
the truth, basic right and reasonable right. He
said therefore it was worthwhile to make an
attempt adding that it did not matter whether we
realise this goal within one’s own lifetime or not.

He said the issue is something worthwhile,
something that benefits not only Tibetans, but
also in whole Asia, and, particularly, millions
of young Chinese. He said 50 years have passed and we never gave up our hope.

When asked whether they had talked about US-China
relations, His Holiness said they did and
recalled his basic position on how the world
should engage with China. His Holiness said
during the time when discussions where going on
in the United States as to whether China should
be given the Most Favored Nation status, he had supported it.

His Holiness said while the world should engage
in economic development relations with China,
there was also the responsibility to bring China
into mainstream of world democracy. His Holiness
said the hardliners in the Chinese leadership
perceive the term democracy to be negative and
argue that Western style of democracy may not fit
Asia. His Holiness said that India and Japan very
successfully practice democracy.

His Holiness said China’s ultimate ambition is to
become superpower and added that in order to
become superpower, moral authority is a very
important condition. He said superpower in the
sense of military force, like that of the former
Soviet Union, brought more fear, more distrust,
and more discomfort. On the other hand, a
superpower like the United States, which is an
open society, democratic, independent judiciary,
brings more, sort of, trust, more comfort. His
Holiness said China eventually should be such a
superpower, which brings happiness, satisfaction,
and calm. His Holiness said transparency and free media were essential in this.

His Holiness said that whenever he met with some
Chinese friends, Chinese professors, and
scholars, he talked about the need for China to
be an open society. Then, trust can develop, he
said. His Holiness also talked about the need for
genuine friendship between India and China, the
two most populated nations. He said that genuine
friendship only comes on the basis of mutual trust.

His Holiness said he had also discussed with the
President about development in the American
society. He said President Lincoln had abolished
slavery while Martin Luther King Jr. fought for
civil rights. He said it was now great that a
non-white has become the President of the United
States. His Holiness recalled hearing the news of
President Obama’s election victory while he was
attending a meeting of Gandhians in the Indian
city of Pune. His Holiness said everyone clapped
which indicated that Obama’s elections impacted
not only the United States but also the world.

When asked whether India was with him on this
political journey, His Holiness replied, "India is my home."

Thereafter, His Holiness met with Indian
Ambassador Meera Shankar, former Under Secretary
of State Paula Dobriansky, Under Secretary and
Special Coordinator on Tibetan Issues Maria Otero and some Tibetans.

In the evening His Holiness attended a Tibetan
New Year reception hosted by the Aspen Institute.
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