By Sara Hashash
THE Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, has made a gesture of goodwill to China by announcing that he wants to donate to the Chinese earthquake fund, despite Beijing’s denunciations of the “Dalai clique” and its description of him as “a demon”.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, he said he was worried that a gift to the victims would be misunderstood by China, which accuses him of helping to foment the riots that struck Tibet in March.
The Dalai Lama, who is due to meet Gordon Brown in London this week, adopted a conciliatory tone in his remarks on China, giving strong backing for the Olympics and expressing his desire to become a fully fledged Chinese citizen. “At the moment I am a refugee. But I would like to return to Tibet as a member of China’s Tibetan minority,” he said.
Although many of his supporters have called for a boycott of the Olympics, the Dalai Lama said he would have liked to attend them. “It is right that China should have been awarded them,” he said. “It has the world’s largest population and a great and ancient culture. In normal circumstances I would very much like to have gone to Beijing as a spectator.”
The Dalai Lama also showed a deep-rooted desire to return to Tibet and begin a new life as a monk in a monastery. Aged 72, he predicted that he would retire to a life of tranquillity by the time he was 80: “As soon as the situation does improve and I am able to return to Tibet, I will immediately renounce all legitimate authority.”
However, he made it clear that he could not go home before China granted Tibet access to the world’s media, medical aid from overseas, the release of all political prisoners and the exercise of human rights.