Dec 10, 2008

Tibet: Dalai Lama Thanks Sarkozy for ‘Genuine Concern’

Active ImageOn a recent visit to Poland the spiritual leader asks for international community to follow France’s example.
Below is an article published by

Speaking to a group of journalists on Sunday [8 December 2008] afternoon, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that President Nicolas Sarkozy of France showed genuine concern for Tibet during their meeting in Gdansk on Saturday, 6 December [2008].

His Holiness made these remarks in response to a question from a television reporter, who along with other journalists was taking part in a joint interview.  One-on-one interview requests could not be helped because of time constraints.

“I had a very nice meeting and he (President Sarkozy) also showed genuine concern about Tibet and I expressed my appreciation to him that in spite of inconvenience he stood firm on principle,” His Holiness said.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama informed the journalists in this Polish city of Krakow on the second leg of his visit to Poland that he also told the French President that although it was important to have good relations with China, it was equally important not to give up on matters of principles.  
With regard to the Chinese government’s threat that it would boycott French goods, His Holiness said this is not the first time China has been critical of a Western leader’s decision to meet with him and that not much action would follow.

“In the past in Norway and other countries, before my meeting (with leaders) takes place, there is lot of criticism.  China also needs Europe.  European life does not depend on China,” His Holiness said.

His Holiness said he has great respect for the Chinese nation and culture and this is why had always advocated that China should not be isolated.

His Holiness said that the world has a responsibility to bring the rule of law, transparency and democracy to China in the long-term interest of China and the Chinese people.
His Holiness said that just like the West had very actively criticized violations of human rights in erstwhile Soviet Union, they must also have the courage to speak up against the human rights violations in China, which is much worse.  He said that as a friend of China, various countries and their leaders must also point out the faults of China rather than simply acting as “Yes Minister”.
On the question of the US President-elect Obama, His Holiness said he is confident of his support for Tibet.  His Holiness said President Obama, whom he has met in the past, had during the U.S. presidential elections also called him and had written to him to express his support for Tibet.    

His Holiness said although his efforts to enter into a dialogue with the Chinese government has failed as of now, his Middle Way Approach has succeeded in receiving support from many governments and many Chinese people.  

If the Chinese government gave a positive signal the Tibetan side was ready to discuss the Tibet issue on the basis of his Middle Way Approach and the memorandum his envoys had presented, His Holiness added.
His Holiness has been met by many world leaders, including the German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, the Prime Minister of Britain Mr Gordon Brown and the President of the United States, Mr. George Bush, who also last year [2007] presented to His Holiness the US Congressional Gold Medal, America’s highest civilian honour.
The prime minister of Poland, Mr. Donald Tusk, also met His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Gdansk on Saturday [7 December 2008].  

His Holiness briefed the Polish prime minister about all the efforts he has made to resolve the just cause of Tibet through his non-violent Middle-Way Approach that that takes into consideration the interests of both the Tibetan and Chinese peoples.  His Holiness stressed that the issue of Tibet is a moral issue and expressed his appreciation for Poland’s support for the just Tibetan cause.
His Holiness said he would continue the Middle Way Approach as it has been endorsed by the Special General Meeting of the Tibetan people’s representatives and worldwide Tibet Support Groups Meeting held last month [November 2008] and during which opinions, even those critical to his approach, were expressed in accordance to democratic freedom of speech.

The prime minister of Poland told His Holiness how much the Polish people respect and admire his peaceful efforts.  The Polish Prime Minister’s own admiration for His Holiness was evident when prior to their meeting he came to hear His Holiness’ address to the international conference organised by the Lech Walesa Institute and in which His Holiness said global peace was possible through the spirit of dialogue and taking into consideration the rights and feelings of other fellow human beings.

Support for His Holiness’ peaceful efforts for Tibet was also expressed at the conference by other Nobel Peace Laureates including Lech Walesa and Frederik Willem de Klerk, also  former President of South Africa.

The media interest and coverage of His Holiness’ visit to Gdansk and his participation at the two day panel discussion on peace and youth with fellow Nobel Peace Prize Laureates was overwhelming, and helped much to put the focus on the unresolved issue of Tibet
Honorary Doctorate

His Holiness was today [10 December 2008] received upon his arrival to Krakow by the Rector of Jagiellonian University, Prof. Dr. Karol Musiol and other senior university officials. Tomorrow [11 December 2008], His Holiness will be attending a ceremony at Krakow’s prestigious Jagiellonian University to receive an honorary degree.

A press release issued by the university says, His Holiness’ acceptance of their invitation “would not only be a tremendous honour for the university, but a great opportunity for the people of Poland to learn more about moral strength”.

Besides accepting the honorary degree, His Holiness will also be giving a public talk at the university on the importance of education.