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Take a leaf out of EU: Dalai Lama to Tibetans
March 22, 2008 12:06 IST
The Dalai Lama [Images] has cautioned China that his death may result in a more vigorous struggle by Tibetans against Communist rule in his Himalayan homeland as the younger generation had a "stronger spirit" to fight injustice.
"Both inside and outside (Tibet), the older generation may go away, but the newer generations carry the same spirit. Sometimes it's even stronger. So after my death a younger generation will come up," the Tibetan spiritual leader told Newsweek magazine.
He "totally" disagreed with the view that the "Tibet struggle will die" after he passes away, but said he was worried about the possibility of greater violence after him as he was fully committed to amity between Tibetans and Chinese.
The Dalai Lama said people would "laugh" if he said that Tibet has been a part of China for many centuries, but added that it was better in today's world for Tibetans to join China, citing the example of the European Union (EU).
"Past is past, irrespective of whether Tibet was a part of China or not. We are looking to the future. I truly believe that a new reality has emerged. The times are different. Today different ethnic groups and different nations come together due to common sense."
"Look at the European Union .....really great. What is the use of small, small nations fighting each other? Today it's much better for Tibetans to join (China). That is my firm belief," he said.
The Chinese government, he said, wants him to say that for many centuries Tibet has been part of China.
"Even if I make that statement, many people would just laugh. And my statement will not change past history. History is history," the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate said.
"Tibetan people should be satisfied. Eventually they should feel they would get greater benefit if they remain with China. Once that feeling develops, that will be the real guarantee that Tibet will forever remain part of the People's Republic of China," he said.
Asked what would he tell Chinese President Hu Jintao or Prime Minister Wen Jiabao if he meets them, the Dalai Lama said he would quote Chinese Leader Deng Xiaoping and say "please seek truth from facts."
"I would urge them to find out what is really going on in Tibetan minds and what is happening on the ground. This I want to tell the prime minister, Wen Jiabao, if he were to come."
"Of course, I have great respect for both, particularly Wen Jiabao. He seems very gentle. I would also ask him, 'Please prove your recent accusations' (that the Dalai Lama instigated the unrest in Tibet)," he said.
Asked whether he has back channels of communications to the Chinese leadership, the Dalai Lama said the usual channels are still there but not "serious" ones, without elaborating.
The Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since fleeing his Himalayan homeland in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet, replied in affirmative when asked if a significant number of officials in Tibet and other parts of China have expressed sympathy for him in private.
"Many ordinary Chinese, thousands, have come here. And several senior officials have sent messages. I feel very strongly that there will be a change (in the attitude of the Chinese leadership). Now the important thing is the Chinese public should get to know the reality. They should have more information about Tibet," he said.
Asked what is the difference between the present turmoil and the one in the late '80s, the Dalai Lama said previously, protests were mainly confined to Lhasa and technologies which enabled images to be seen elsewhere were absent.
"But it is mainly the (extent of Tibetan) grievances. Today even Tibetan monks in Chinese areas carry Tibetan flags. I am quite surprised (by the prevalence of Tibetan dissatisfaction in areas far from Lhasa).
"Now the entire Tibetan people have strong feelings. If (Chinese authorities) truly treated the Tibetans as brothers and sisters and as equals, giving them trust, then this would not happen," he said.
The Tibetan Buddhist cultural heritage, he opined, can eventually help bring "some deeper values" to million of Chinese youth who are lost in a moral vacuum. "After all China is traditionally a Buddhist country."