His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his French interpretor Matthieu Ricard, at press briefing in Paris, France. Wednesday, 13 August 2008, photo: Tenam
Paris, Wednesday, 13 August: His Holiness the Dalai Lama said Wednesday that more than a leader of the Tibetan people he is the free spokesperson of the Tibetan people.
Referring to the protest across Tibet recently, His Holiness said that as "the Dalai Lama I have a moral responsibility to convey the message” of the Tibetan people living in occupied Tibet. The recent protest clearly expressed “deep-seated resentment of the Tibetan people,” he added.
Reiterating his three commitments of promoting human values, promoting understanding between various religious tradition, and working for Tibetan people, he said that he is now “semi-retired” and that the daily political decisions are taken by elected leaders in exile.
Reflecting on being in exile since 1959, His Holiness said that he has gained a lot of experience and has been able to enjoy freedom of expression, freedom of movement etc, yet the Tibetan people in Tibet have faced “immense sufferings in the past half a century and that saddens” him.
When asked about the closed door session at the French Senate, His Holiness said that it is for the Senate to answer. The French Senate President has come under lot of criticism for his decision to exclude the press from today's Senate meeting.
Answering a query about the status of the contacts with the Chinese government, His Holiness said that the envoys are “disappointed, which is also a development (as compared to previous reports)”.
“Yet we still want to continue the contacts and the details of which will be discussed in the forthcoming session of the Tibetan parliament in exile in September,” he added.
Thanking the media for their interest in Tibet he said that by highlighting the Tibetan issue they are not “pro-Tibet but pro-justice,” and that the media has a responsibility to present an objective and unbiased picture and inform the citizens.
Asked about the French President Nicolas Sarkozy not meeting him during this trip, His Holiness said that it is important for the western world to nurture warm ties with China. His Holiness stressed that China should not be isolated and the democratic world has "a responsibility to bring China into the mainstream society and create genuine friendship." “Yet the international community has to be firm when it comes to values like Human Rights, Religious freedom and rule of law, ” His Holiness said.
Talking to the Tibetan Community of France in the afternoon, His Holiness stressed the importance of taking cue from Tibetans and Chinese people living in Canada and form an association to promote friendship and understanding between Chinese and Tibetans living in France.