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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Chinese censorship source of problem for Tibet issue: Dalai Lama

February 23, 2010

By Phurbu Thinley
Phayul
February 22, 2010

Dharamsala, Feb 22 -- Exiled Tibetan leader His
Holiness the Dalai Lama says "censorship" in
China is the source of Tibet's problems with China's Communist rulers.

Speaking to the Reuters news agency on a visit to
Beverly Hills in California, the Dalai Lama said
the Chinese people have no opportunity to
understand the position of Tibetans due to
restriction placed on the free flow of information by the Chinese government.

"Censorship ... is the source of the problem,"
the Dalai Lama said in the interview on Saturday.

"The Chinese people have no opportunity to know our issue," His Holiness added.

The Tibetan leader said this has enabled Chinese
authorities to portray him as a demon and a terrorist.

"Do I look like a demon?" the winner of the 1989
Nobel Peace Prize joked, holding his fingers
beside his head to make devil horns.

The Dalai Lama advocates Tibet having meaningful
autonomy within the People’s Republic of China.
Beijing, however, routinely vilifies him as being a “dangerous separatist”.

His Holiness said the United States and other
countries could help his campaign for a free
Tibet by promoting an open society in China.

"Once China becomes an open society -- freedom of
speech, freedom of press, freedom of information
-- all this unnecessary fear and doubt will
reduce," he said. "That's the real answer for this problem.

The Dalai Lama, who arrived in Los Angeles on
Friday to lend his support to Whole Child
International, a nonprofit organization that
works on behalf of orphaned and abandoned
children, said Western search engines like Google
Inc were important to the free flow of
information within China. He noted they had ceded
to pressure from the Communist government there to limit what users can see.

Google last month threatened to pull out of China
if the government did not agree to stop censoring its Chinese-language service.

In a separate interview with Los Angeles Times on
Saturday, the Tibetan leader said that he is,
however, encouraged by what he sees as growing
support for the Tibetan cause among Chinese
intellectuals, although he said the Chinese
government remains "hardened" against him.

In the interview, he said that there had been no
progress in the latest round of talks with China
over his call for greater autonomy in Tibet. "No
progress...... Always the Chinese authorities
[are] very hardened. Not only [against] Tibetans,
but also... toward their own people," the exiled
Tibetan eader told the LA Times when asked if he
saw any progress on the Tibet issue.

Still, he said he found some reasons to cling to
hope that the standoff could ease. "The number of
Chinese intellectuals and writers [coming] out,
they openly support our middle way approach and
[are] very critical of their own government policy," the Dalai Lama said.

The Dalai Lama claimed that Chinese intellectuals
had become more sympathetic to Tibet as a result
of pro-autonomy demonstrations in 2008 that
prompted a swift, violent response from Chinese authorities.

Since then, he said, he has met many Chinese who
say they were unaware of the Tibetan issue until
the demonstrations. Now, he said, they find his
call for a self- governing Tibet that remains a
part of China to be "very sensible, very logical”.

He also said Chinese writers had published 800
articles in support of Tibetan autonomy, 300 of
them published in China itself. Those figures
could not be independently verified, the paper said.

During the interview in the presidential suite of
a Beverly Hills hotel, the Dalai Lama also
briefly discussed his Thursday meeting with Obama.

He said he had met with the President because "it
was my duty to inform or report what the
situation was in the relationship with the Chinese government."

China had reacted angrily on the Obama-Dalai Lama
meeting by accusing the US of "seriously
undermining" bilateral ties by "conniving" with separatist forces.

Obama used his first presidential meeting with
the Dalai Lama to press China to preserve Tibetan
identity and to respect human rights in the
region, which has been under Chinese occupation since 1950.

Tibetans in Tibet welcomed the meeting with with
a defiant show of fireworks and auspicious prayer
rituals. Reports said Tibetans in Rebkong (Ch:
Tongren) and Ngaba in the Amdo Province of Tibet
came out openly in large numbers around
monasteries to burn incense and throw wind-horse
prayer flags in the air to hail the meeting.

The Dalai Lama was reluctant to predict what impact the meeting would have.

"We will have to wait ... it's very difficult to
predict," Dalai Lama said in his interview with Reuters.

While in Washington, D.C., the National Endowment
for Democracy (NED) on Friday presented the Dalai
Lama with the Democracy Service Medal in
recognition of his commitment to advancing the
principles of democracy and human dignity.

Dalai Lama’s L.A. visit included a luncheon
speech Saturday and a public address on Sunday at
Gibson Amphitheatre, where he was joined by musician Sheryl Crow.
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