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Home > India > News > PTI

Dalai Lama blames China for cultural genocide in Tibet

April 15, 2008 16:37 IST
Last Updated: April 15, 2008 16:39 IST

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Renewing his call for a "meaningful" autonomy for Tibet [Images], the Dalai Lama [Images] has charged Beijing [Images] with carrying out "cultural genocide" in his Himalayan homeland.

The Tibetan spiritual leader, in an interview with US' National Public Radio, also said he hoped to return to Tibet one day.

"Since we have our own unique cultural heritage, including our language, our script, these matters should be in the hands of (Tibetans who know) about our culture, about our religion," the Dalai Lama, now on his first visit to the US after the eruption of anti-China riots in Tibet, said.

But with the "present arrangement, whether intentionally or unintentionally, some kind of cultural genocide is taking place," he said.

The Dalai Lama said China's central government should be in charge of foreign affairs, but "the rest of local business should be in the hands of Tibetans. Autonomy is meaningless, just on paper. So we are appealing to the Chinese central authority: Now give us meaningful autonomy".

Expressing concern about China's recent clampdown in Tibet, he said, "If things continue as it is, then tightening control will increase," he said. "So naturally, a lot of suffering, a lot of problems and great damage will be caused to Tibetan Buddhist culture. So there's much worry."

In his first public comments on the protests, Chinese President Hu Jintao had said on Saturday that, "Our conflict with the Dalai clique is not an ethnic problem, not a religious problem... It is a problem either to safeguard national unification or to split the motherland."

In the interview, the Dalai Lama called Hu's remarks "quite strange but OK if they really enjoy to attack (me)� People, I think, don't believe that. Even the Chinese people."

He said he's saddened by the negative image of him painted by China's government-controlled media.

"Millions of Chinese, those innocent Chinese -- who have no other way to access the situation, totally rely on the government information.

"These millions of Chinese then really feel anger towards me. At that I feel very sad. What's the way to tell these innocent Chinese brothers (and) sisters the reality? But there's no way to send information or to send news."

The Dalai Lama said he does not support a boycott against the Beijing Olympics [Images] , but he backs people's right to demonstrate "provided (it's) strictly non-violent."

He said the freedom of speech is very important. He noted that even in Tibet and "among our friends, some are very, very critical towards me," saying he's too moderate.

"For example, my own elder brother one time described me as a traitor to Tibet," the Dalai Lama said.

"But I never say to these people, 'Shut up'... It's their right to express what they feel."

Asked if he hopes to see Tibet again, he said "Yes, we believe, we believe."

The Dalai Lama also said Tibet gains many benefits by remaining part of China, but it must hold on to its cultural heritage.

Tibet is "materially backward and "every Tibetan" wants a "modernised Tibet," he added. "(Tibet should) remain within the People's Republic of China. As far as material development is concerned, we gain much benefit."

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