News and Views on Tibet

Dalai Lama renews peace efforts

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter

Following the recent change of leadership in China, Tibet’s spiritual leader is optimistic about gaining autonomy for his country.


The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel laureate, the Dalai Lama, is once again waving an olive branch to the Chinese leadership.

He has renewed his efforts to talk peace with Beijing to solve the vexed Tibetan problem, particularly after the recent leadership change in China, and is optimistic about a solution.

“The atmosphere is quite good and warm. It is a good beginning. Let’s see what happens,” he observed while referring to the visit of his envoys to China in September 2002. He was speaking at his first major interaction this year with global media in the Indian capital on Monday.

The Dalai Lama announced that another Tibetan delegation would visit China very soon, maybe this month or early next month. “I was pleased that the Chinese government made it possible for my envoys to visit Beijing to re-establish direct contact with the Chinese leadership and to also visit Tibet to interact with leading local Tibetan officials. This provided opportunities to explain to the Chinese leadership our views on the issue of Tibet. I was encouraged that the exchange of views were friendly and meaningful.”

Reiterating that Tibetans do not want freedom or separation from China, the spiritual guru said Tibetans want genuine autonomy within the constitution of China. The sole objective is to preserve the unique culture and environment of Tibet as well as the Buddhist Dhamma. This position was made clear to the Chinese leadership during the talks held by Tibetan envoys.

“We want to dispel all existing misunderstandings and misconceptions in Beijing about our views. This is the only sensible, intelligent and human way to resolve differences. But it is not an easy task, nor can it be accomplished in a short time,” he added.

Of late, the Dalai Lama has been generous in praising Chinese leadership. In his statement on the Tibetan National Uprising Day last month, he lauded the Chinese Communist Party for the smooth transfer of leadership, calling it a sign of political maturity and adaptability. The reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping and continued under President Jiang Zemin, he said, had brought about great changes in China’s economy, trade and international relations. He also welcomed the release of several Tibetan and Chinese prisoners of conscience during the past year.

“Inspite of the criticism from some of my supporters, I feel that it is in our interest to seek autonomy within the constitution of China,” he said at Monday’s media briefing organised by the Foreign Correspondents Club.

“It will benefit China also. A constructive approach to Tibet will send signals that China is changing, maturing and is ready for a greater role on the global stage.”

Refusing to take direct questions on the war in Iraq, the spiritual guru said, “I don’t think violence is an appropriate method for solving any problem. You need proper conflict resolution, solve the problem through talks.”

He said he did not know how the Iraq war would affect the Tibet issue. The United States, he said, had been taking interest in the Tibet issue and the American leadership had been raising it with the Chinese whenever they met.

The Buddhist monk, who has made India his home since 1959, said he has no personal ambition to rule Tibet when it gets autonomy, or hold any political position. He said he had no desire to revive the outdated social order or feudal rule in Tibet.

“It will be ruled by a democratically elected government. Even in the exile, our government is elected democratically,” he pointed out.

“I am not against even Communism. Sometimes I say I am half Marxist, half Buddhist. Marxism is not about just making money, but also about distributing it among the poor.

“In capitalism, if you are poor all your future is jeopardised. The poor are protected in communism. The only problem is their focus is on hatred and not compassion,” the Dalai Lama said.

He said he was not interested in continuation of the institution of Dalai Lama.

“I have told Tibetan people to decide if they want to continue this centuries-old institution after me.

“If Dalai Lama ceases with me, I will be happy. I have not been the best Dalai Lama, nor the worst. I am a normal Dalai Lama.”

His only desire, he said, was to visit Tibet and Wu Dai Shan, another Buddhist pilgrim centre in China, in his lifetime.

Asked on the role of 17th Karmapa, the Dalai Lama said the Karmapa, as a religious leader, had a very important role to revive Buddhist Dhamma.

“I told him that for the next few years, his job is to study scriptures and meditate. That he is doing very well.”

He said the Karmapa should visit the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, which is the seat of the 16th Karmapa, but this visit had so far not materialised.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *