By Tenzin Monlam
Yang Jianli, Founder and President of Initiatives for China
DHARAMSHALA, June 11: Initiatives for China (IFC), a US-based NGO dedicated for advancing peaceful transition to democracy in China, expressed its support to the Dalai Lama’s invitation to University of California San Diego (UCSD) and urged the protesting Chinese students to stop ‘parroting’ the rhetoric party line.
Yang Jianli, Founder and President of IFC, in his opinion column published in Times of San Diego
wrote, “As an ethnic Han Chinese myself, I am deeply troubled by the reaction of these Chinese students. Not because they are protesting, but because they are so decisively repeating the party line of the Chinese Communist government.”
He argued that the freedom of speech and expression enjoyed by the Chinese students in America are being utilized for the wrong cause. He said that the students are unable to take advantage of the freedoms to ‘go beyond the propaganda taught in China’.
A survivor of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Yang said, “I’m glad to see they are exercising their rights - rights that they don’t have in China. What is disappointing is that their protests don’t show originality or freedom of thought; they are parroting verbatim the rhetoric of the Chinese government.”
Debunking Beijing’s portrayal of the exiled Tibetan leader as a ‘separatist’ and sharing his experience of meeting him, both publically and privately, he said that he had found him compassionate, who is against violence, separatism and someone who has always shown willingness to negotiate with Beijing despite the brutal treatment of Tibetans at the hands of China.
The protesting Chinese Student and Scholars Association (CSSA) in its opposition states that the Tibetan spiritual leader has been trying to split China and that under Dalai Lama’s institution Tibet has gone under ‘slavery’. Hence they claim that the Dalai Lama is ‘unfit’ to be the commencement speaker.
Yang in his article wrote, “The Dalai Lama has abandoned the idea of Tibetan independence a long time ago and now promotes his Middle Way Approach, a policy that seeks genuine autonomy for Tibet under China’s current political system.”
He also urged that the Chinese students to rid themselves of the rhetoric taught in China and to open their minds to new ideas and thoughts.
“The Dalai Lama should be welcomed by all students, regardless of cultural and political background. He will provide a thought-provoking commencement speech, and challenge all to promote peace and remind us all that we are all interdependent including the Han and Tibetans,” Yang concluded.
The Dalai Lama left Dharamshala yesterday and is scheduled to speak at the commencement on June 17 and also on June 16 at a public event at UC San Diego’s RIMAC Field.