By Phurbu Thinley
Exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama meets Belgium's Senate President Armand De Decker (L) and Lower house President Herman Van Rompuy (R) at the Parliament in Brussels December 4, 2008. Dalai Lama Friday ended his two-day visit to Belgium and arrived in Poland. (Photo: Reuters)
Dharamsala, December 5: China lacks the moral authority, including over the question of Tibet, to be a true superpower, the exiled Tibetan leader Dalai Lama said Thursday, according to a media report.
After addressing the EU parliament in Brussels, the Dalai Lama said China "deserves to be a superpower" given its huge population and economic and military strength, AFP
"Now one important factor is moral authority and that is lacking," he told a press conference in Brussels.
"Because of its very poor record on human rights and religious freedom and freedom of expression and freedom of the press -- too much censorship -- the image of China in the field of moral authority is very, very poor," the Nobel Peace laureate added.
"The sensible Chinese realize China should now pay more attention in this field in order to get more respect from the rest of the world," His Holiness said.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama gives a speech at the EU Parliament in Brussels. China lacks the moral authority, including over the question of Tibet, to be a true superpower, the Dalai Lama said at a press conference after addressing the EU parliament on Thursday. (Photo AFP)
The 73-year old Tibetan leader also reportedly cited the problems of Tibet and separatist factions in the southwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang as areas where such a moral authority should be displayed.
He said he continued to have confidence in the Chinese people while doubting the government wanted serious talks on Tibet's future.
Earlier, the Dalai Lama addressed the European Parliament during his second day in the Belgian capital, where he was greeted by loud applause.
Some MEPs were even seen displaying a Tibetan flag.
The EP president Hans-Gert Poettering assured that the parliament would "continue to defend the rights of the Tibetan people to their cultural and religious identity."
He called on Chinese leaders to hold meaningful talks with representatives of the exiled Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama will meet with the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country holds the EU's presidency, in Poland on Saturday.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama meets with the President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Poettering at the European Parliament in Brussels. Poettering assured that the parliament would "continue to defend the rights of the Tibetan people to their cultural and religious identity." (Photo: AFP)
The exiled Tibetan leader and winner of 1989 Nobel Peace Prize and other Nobel Peace Prize laureates were invited to Gdansk to celebrate the 25 years since Poland's Lech Walesa won the award.
The Dalai Lama’s ongoing Europe tour has upset Beijing.
In protest, China has cancelled its annual summit with the EU towards the last minute and sternly warned the French President of serious diplomatic consequences.
Meanwhile, the revered Tibetan leader called on the world to stand firm when dealing with China, while recognising that the Asian economic giant could not be ignored. He said, in order to protect the long-term interests of the Chinese people, world must not falter on the issue of human rights.
The Dalai Lama also urged Europe not to appease China, saying that frank dealings and treating Beijing "as a friend" alone would best serve human rights.
China maintains that doors for dialogue with the Dalai Lama side is always open, but it categorically rejected a “Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People
” submitted by his envoys during the latest round of talks and vehemently increased its usual anti-Dalai Lama rhetoric following the talks last month.
China, which sent military troops to occupy Tibet in 1949, reviles the Dalai Lama as a “separatist” trying to split Tibet from it, and regularly protests against countries that agree to visits by him or warns world leaders of diplomatic consequences if they meet him.
The exiled Tibetan leader says he sincerely pursuing a “middle-Way” policy that calls for a “real and meaningful” autonomy for Tibetan people within China, and zealously opposes the use of violence.
"We are not 'splittists', but the Chinese government still accuses us of being 'splittists'," the Dalai Lama told the press conference on Thursday.