By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, August 6: The exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama today extended greetings and, offered prayers and good wishes for the success of the Beijing Olympics, due to start on Friday.
“I would like to offer my greetings to the People's Republic of China, the organizers and the athletes participating in the forthcoming Olympic Games in Beijing,” the Dalai Lama stated in a press statement released here today.
“I send my prayers and good wishes for the success of this event,” the revered Tibetan leader said.
The Dalai Lama, the 1989 Nobel Peace laureate, has consistently maintained that he personally supported China’s right to host the prestigious international sporting event, saying it should be a moment of great pride for the Chinese people.
“Right from the time of China's application to hold the Olympic Games, I have supported China's right to host the Games,” the Tibetan leader reiterated in his today’s statement. “This is a moment of great pride to the 1.3 billion Chinese people,” he said, however, adding “These Games should contribute to promoting the Olympic spirit of friendship, openness and peace”.
The Dalai Lama has been based in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala, also the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-exile, since fleeing his Himalayan homeland in 1959 amid a failed uprising against Chinese rule.
The Tibet issue has attracted increased attention this year with China hosting the summer Olympics coupled with massive anti-China unrests that broke out across Tibet in March.
Lately, the Dalai Lama has advocated a "middle way approach" calling for a “real and meaningful” autonomy for Tibet within the framework of Chinese Constitution, a broad compromise many young Tibetans are not happy about.
Despite persistent efforts to demonize him by Beijing as separatist seeking to “split China”, the Tibetan leader insists Tibet issue be resolved peacefully through constructive dialogue with Chinese leadership.
Seven rounds of talks between the Dalai Lama's representatives and that of the Chinese government, started since 2002 to find a negotiable solution to Tibet issue, did not make any significant breakthrough.
The latest seventh round of talks held in Beijing on July 1 and 2 was the first formal round of talks between the two sides following international condemnations on China’s violent crackdown on Tibetan demonstrations.
Despite strong insistence on China from world leaders to hold result-orientated dialogue with the exiled Tibetan leader, the talks made no headway on the status of Tibet as expected by the Tibetan leadership, forcing a senior Tibetan envoy to describe the outcome as “disappointing”.
"I personally told my Chinese counterparts very candidly that if the talks do not make any tangible results, there is no point in wasting each other’s time," Mr Gyari, the Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy, told reporters in Dharamsala following the two-day talks with Chinese counterparts.
Nevertheless, the two sides have at least agreed to meet again later in October, once the Beijing Olympic Games would be far over.