After an epic 15-day foot journey over the Himalayan mountains, the spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama, crossed the border into India in 1959. Since then, His Holiness has been India’s honoured guest. China has time and again accused the Dalai Lama of damaging ties with India, but New Delhi has always been cautious in reacting to such a claim.
In a brief interview with Kamna Arora of Zeenews.com, Tenzin Taklha, spokesman of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, discusses India’s China policy and Tibet movement.
Kamna: How do you think will the Tibet Movement take shape after The Holiness retires?
Taklha: His Holiness the Dalai Lama has made it clear time and again that the issue of Tibet is not the issue of one person. It is the issue of six million Tibetans and their right. His Holiness is committed to democracy and ever since our arrival in 1959, His Holiness has been taking steps to democratise our administration.
Since 2001, we now have a directly-elected political leader who is carrying out the daily responsibility of leading the Tibetan political administration. Every five years, we have elections to this post. So, the Tibetan movement will continue despite His Holiness retiring as the head of our political establishment. It is, however, important to clarify that His Holiness will always be the Dalai Lama and cannot retire from this. Tibetans will always look to him as our leader. His Holiness will also continue to promote his two life-long commitments of promoting human values and religious harmony until his last breath.
Kamna: What do you think about India’s political stand vis-à-vis China? Do you think the international community, especially India, should have done more for Tibet and Tibetans?
Taklha: In the past, His Holiness has commented that sometimes he feels the Government of India’s policy towards China, especially on Tibet, has been over-cautious. In recent years, though, His Holiness feels the Government of India’s policy has changed and it is no longer over-cautious. The Tibetan people in India remain extremely grateful to the Government of India and the people of India for all that they have done to make the Tibetan people one of the most successful refugee communities in the world.
Kamna: Former Czech president Vaclav Havel and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu wrote in an editorial that China’s human rights abuses show it cannot be a world leader. What do you have to say about this?
Taklha: His Holiness has time and again said that China has the largest population in the world, a very strong economy and a strong military. However, in order to be a true superpower, it must also have the moral authority which it lacks. The closed society in China where everything is censored, (with) no media freedom and no right to information, is morally wrong. It is deceiving its own people. Therefore, for China to be a true superpower it must go along the global trend of more openness and respect the rights of the individuals. Only then will the rest of the world learn to trust China.