By Tenzin Monlam
Chancellor Khosla greets His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama upon his arrival in San Diego
DHARAMSHALA, June 17: The Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that protests by Chinese students against the University of California San Diego’s administration to disinvite him was “quite normal”. “That is quite normal. I think they are not properly informed. They just believe what they’ve been told, ” the Tibetan leader said while responding to a question about the protests at a media briefing before his public talk on Friday.
He also reiterated his stance of seeking genuine autonomy for Tibet within the framework of the Chinese constitution saying that Tibetans have not sought independence and worked for the mutually beneficial solution since 1974.
“Tibet needs to modernize, we need material development, and remaining with the People’s Republic of China can help with this. However, China could first do with a new Cultural Revolution, but one driven not by hatred as before but by compassion,” he said.
Meanwhile UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla defended the university’s decision of inviting the Dalai Lama to speak at the all-campus commencement on June 17. “It is a public university where lots of speakers are invited by students, faculties and staff and not every speaker is accepted and loved by everybody else. As a Chancellor, it is my duty to make sure that everybody has the right to speak and right to be heard,” said Chancellor Khosla adding suppression of speech would be more uncomfortable than uncomfortable speech.
When the university announced its decision to invite the Dalai Lama earlier this year Chinese students studying at the university had approached the administration to disinvite the Dalai Lama calling the university’s decision ‘insensitive’.
However, the Chancellor rejected the plea with an assurance that the speech would be apolitical and that words like ‘freedom fighter’ and 'spiritual head and leader of the Tibetan people' would not be used to describe him.
The octogenarian leader will give the keynote speech at the all-campus commencement on ‘The Value of Education, Ethics and Compassion for the Well-Being of Self and Others’.