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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Dalai Lama's exclusion criticized

March 31, 2009

Taipei Times (Taiwan)
March 30, 2009

Taiwan Friends of Tibet chairwoman Chow Mei-li
(???) yesterday accused the World Buddhist Forum
of politically interfering in religion by
refusing to invite the Dalai Lama to the forum
because China considers the exiled Tibetan
spiritual leader to be a "separatist."

"We are shocked by the fact that World Buddhist
Forum refused to invite the Dalai Lama because
the Dalai Lama supports Tibet independence [sic],
and we condemn the Chinese Communist Party [CCP]
for politically controlling, polluting and
repressing religion,” Chow said during a
conference in Taipei on the development of
liberalism in China. "Since when was a personal
political view a criterion for participating in a forum about Buddhism?"

Buddhist leaders in China took the initiative to
organize the first World Buddhist Forum last year
with the stated aim of creating a platform for
Buddhists around the world to discuss the religion.

This year’s forum is being organized by Buddhist
leaders in China and Taiwan. The forum opened in
China on Friday and moves to Taipei today.

The forum’s spokesman, Chinese Buddhist Master
Shih Mingsheng (???), was quoted by the Hong
Kong-based Singtao Daily on Friday as saying that
the Dalai Lama had not been invited because “he
did not give up [seeking] independence for Tibet”
and “did not stop activities to break up China.

Meanwhile, an official of the Tibetan
government-in-exile told the Taipei Times on
condition of anonymity that all the Tibetan
Buddhist leaders attending this year’s forum are
known to have close ties to and relations with
the CCP’s leadership and therefore could no be
said to truly represent Tibetan Buddhism.

"Recognized and estimated leaders of Tibetan
Buddhism’s four sects are all living in exile,"
the official said. "None of them were invited to the World Buddhist Forum.”
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