by Nirmala CarvalhoThe head of a Tibetan organisation talks about Sino-German differences after the Merkel-Dalai Lama meeting. His group wants dialogue with the Chinese population, something that the Chinese authorities regularly block. Public protests are scheduled for the Olympics.
New Delhi (AsiaNews) – Young Tibetans, frustrated by China’s boycott over Tibet and the Dalai Lama, are planning demonstrations and protests in the Chinese capital during the 2008 Olympics, said Penpa Tsering, executive director of the India-based Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Research Centre (TPPRC).
Speaking to AsiaNews he said that “rumblings by the Chinese government after the German Chancellor’s meeting [with the Dalai Lama] is a routine thing and all attempts of anti-propaganda by China only helps to focus of the international community on the Tibetan cause. You can say that China is our biggest advertising agent.”
“We have learnt to live in peace and sanity in spite of the suffering because we have a larger cause to fight. Tibetans are still calm because the Dalai Lama is still leading the movement, and we are telling the Chinese people to be reasonable and pragmatic because later on, we do not know what may happen. The movement may take a violent turn and this will not help the Chinese or the Tibetans.”
For the TPPRC director, the “Dalai Lama is a great man of peace, and we Tibetans have learnt that not to blame the Chinese alone. This is based on the Buddhist philosophy of interdependence [that says that] there are so many causes and factors responsible for the current situation.”
“In the last six years we have had a dialogue with the Chinese,” he explained. This has “helped to a certain extent in understanding each others’ concerns; unfortunately it is not moving forward. Young Tibetans are upset because since last year in May, the Chinese authorities started criticising His Holiness the Dalai Lama again. With the dialogue going nowhere, more and more Tibetans are coming out into the streets.”
Now there are great expectations about the Olympics, which is an ideal “stage where the Tibetan cause can be propelled into the glare of the international” community.
However, his group is not taking any official stance on the Olympics because the “Dalai Lama is of the firm opinion that more China gets integrated into world politics, the much more responsible China should become [. . .] in the fields of sports or politics.”
Yet many young people still feel frustrated. In August some unfurled a 27 m2 banner down the side of the Great Wall of China—the most recognisable symbol of Chinese nationhood—in both English and Chinese that said: “One World, One Dream, Free Tibet 2008”
For them it is crucial to draw the attention and gain the support of the international community, and many private groups are set to organise many more protests before and during the Olympics.