May 20, 2010

Tibet: China Must Acknowledge Tibet's Problem and Begin Serious Talks.

Active ImageIn an interview to the Chinese language media outlet, Duowei, in Cedar Falls on Tuesday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama underscored that the Chinese leadership must acknowledge that there is a Tibetan problem and begin serious discussions to resolve the issue.




Below is an article published by

The interview was conducted by its chairman, Mr. Yu Pinhai, who had flown to Cedar Falls from Hong Kong, for the purpose. His Holiness responded to questions on the nature of the Tibetan issue and what would it take for the dialogue process with the Chinese leadership to move forward.  

When asked what steps he could take on moving the Tibetan dialogue process forward, His Holiness said that from his side he had done everything possible and reminded the interviewer about Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s commitment that except for the issue of Tibetan independence everything else can be discussed and resolved. His Holiness said that some Chinese United Front officials have said that there is no Tibetan issue, but only the issue of the Dalai Lama.  

His Holiness said that the whole world knows that he is not asking for Tibetan independence while the Chinese Government continues to claim he is a separatist. He said that was the problem.  Therefore, His Holiness said that "the Chinese leadership needs to acknowledge that there is a Tibetan problem and begin serious discussions". He said once serious discussions start it should be the Tibetans in Tibet who should be taking active part in it.  Currently, he said Tibetans in Tibet are afraid to speak their minds as they would be accused of being separatists.  His Holiness said he had always said that the majority of Tibetans who are in Tibet are his boss.  He said the previous Panchen Lama supported his approach as does Phuntsok Wangyal and Yangling Dorjee, former Tibetan officials in the Chinese Government. His Holiness said he had never asked the Chinese Government for any position for himself in the past and that he would not ask for such a thing even in the future.
His Holiness said the Tibetans had a very rich spiritual heritage and a culture that was the way of life for all Tibetans, whether Buddhists, Muslims or Christians.  He said he called this as the Tibetan Buddhist culture and it was a culture of non-violence and of compassion.  His Holiness said there was a moral crisis in the world, including in China, and that the Tibetan Buddhist culture could be beneficial in making a positive contribution.

His Holiness said that his main concern was the preservation of the Tibetan culture. However, he said the problem was that some narrow minded Chinese leaders only saw the Tibetan identity as a source of separation. His Holiness repeated his assertion that whether intentional or unintentional some sort of cultural genocide was taking place. His Holiness referred to the former Tibetan Autonomous Region Party Secretary Chen Kuiyuan who had issued directives for Tibet University in Lhasa not to teach any classical Tibetan spiritual texts. His Holiness said he was informed of this by some teachers of Tibet University. Similarly, His Holiness said he has received reports that some officials are recommending that Tibetan monasteries be converted from centers of Buddhist studies to mere temples with a few monks.

His Holiness said "the Tibetans very much love their cultural heritage and said the negative attitude of the people in authority towards this heritage was having negative impact on the people." His Holiness said "Tibetan Buddhist leaders in Tibet like Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok faced great difficulties in pursuing purely spiritual activities."

His Holiness also "clarified that he had never asked all the Chinese to move out of Tibet, but that Tibetans be the majority as that was essential for the survival of the Tibetan identity."  He referred to the development in Inner Mongolia where there were only three to four million Mongolians compared to around 20 million Chinese.  His Holiness said "in the past there were Chinese in his birth place and they had no problems with the Tibetans.  Similarly there were some Chinese in Lhasa area, too."  His Holiness talked about a situation something like for six million Tibetans around one million Chinese being there would not be a problem.

To a question whether His Holiness was concerned about the future after him, he responded that "as early as 1969 he had made clear that the Tibetan people should decide whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not."  He said in exile since 2001 there is an elected political leadership and also young and qualified spiritual masters in all Tibetan Buddhist lineages are growing up. His Holiness therefore said he was not concerned.

His Holiness also clarified that although the media was using the term “Tibetan Government in Exile” he said we formally use the term “Central Tibetan Administration.”

His Holiness talked about the atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust that was currently prevalent among the Chinese leadership on the Tibetan issue and hoped that this interview would help clarify the issue.