The Dalai Lama visits Parliament

The Dalai Lama today set out his position to the UK Parliament. He told us he is dedicated to democracy. He sees himself as an advocate of human compassion, as a Buddhist who believes in religious harmony, and as a Tibetan.

He wishes to preserve and uphold the unique language and cultural traditions of Tibet, whilst claiming that he seeks politically an autonomous Tibet within China. When asked how this might work, he wishes China to control Foreign Policy and defence, leaving other matters to an elected democratic Tibetan government. To those who would hail him as a God King he says “Nonsense”, and to those who would demonise him as a “wolf in monk’s clothing” he says the same.

He explained his approach to the Tibetan-Chinese dialogue. He extends his right hand to China, seeking autonomy for the Tibetan culture and traditions, whilst extending his left hand to his supporters. He says he would withdraw his left hand from the Tibetan people as soon as something good was placed in his right hand by China.

China held talks with the Dalai Lama’s team on 4th May and have scheduled a second meeting for the second week of June. Listening to what he did and did not say, it sounded as if there is still a big difference of opinion between the two sides over what is best for Tibet and how Tibet should be governed.

China believes in modernising Tibet, transforming its economy by injections of capital, new projects and a substantial increase in the number of Chinese settlers. They see the future revolving around the Chinese language and the cultural and political approach of the Chinese government.

The Dalai Lama and his supporters see this as an attack upon Tibetan language, culture and values. They seek a democratic answer to the government issue, an answer which China is unlikely to adopt anytime soon.

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4 Comments

  1. Cardano
    Posted May 21, 2008 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    It is really interesting to note that in today’s world it is more important to schmooze up to, and kowtow with one of the most, well what can one say but depraved and deplorable regimes on the planet in order not to upset their big egos and jeopardize lucrative trade they might control.
    Principles and ethics don’t count for squat, ‘Realpolitik’ is the order of the day.
    But does anyone realize that this just equals Prostitution; for such stands will come back to haunt the perpetrators of such spineless behaviour.
    Politicians would be the first to note failures to make a principled stand in past history, but the lessons arising from it eludes the grasp of every one of them.
    Politicians are more concerned with small, short term gains to their ego, than grand, long term achievements that could make them an icon of respectability for generations to come.
    No such luck however with the current crop of ‘Leaders’, even though the Tibet issue is such a clear cut, and well explored and documented issue.
    That is if one omits the blatant distortions and fabrications the CCP incessantly proffers, and takes the facts as it has been well expounded by true experts, but whose voice is being drowned out by the cacophony of verbal venom, vitriol and lies from the CCP cabal.
    Tibet is an illegally occupied country and the Chinese Leadership is at best a cabal that does not even recognize any civil code as we know it and needs to be put into its place.
    If just one politician, parliament, country, could be the “first” to find a moral fibre left in its soul and make a stand and move on the Tibet issue; declare it an Occupied Country, raise the issue once again at the UN, recognize the Tibetan Government in Exile and thumb it to the Chinese as they constantly do to the rest of the world, and the rest of the “civilized” would follow.
    Get the true background on Tibet and the riots

    A careful look at history

  2. Freeborn John
    Posted May 21, 2008 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    The Chinese are working systematically to break down Tibetan national identity hoping that a majority of Tibetans will one day come to regard themselves as Chinese. Even if Beijing believed in democracy, they could not introduce it in Tibet until this point is reached or a referendum would be held and won in Tibet to create their own nation-state.

    ———

    “When the nationality which succeeds in overpowering the other is both the most numerous and the most improved, and especially if the subdued nationality is small, and has no hope of reasserting its independence, then, if it is governed with any tolerable justice, and if the members of the more powerful nationality are not made odious by being invested with exclusive privileges, the smaller nationality is gradually reconciled to its position, and becomes amalgamated with the larger … [if the smaller nation is the more improved] it may be overcome by brute strength and reduced to subjection. This last is a sheer mischief to the human race, and one which civilized humanity with one accord should rise in arms to prevent. The absorption of Greece by Macedonia was one of the greatest misfortunes which ever happened to the world.” — J.S. Mill “Considerations on Representative Government”

  3. Posted May 21, 2008 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    If it were not China (Orwell's Eastasia) running Tibet there would not be a mention in the papers. The legal position is clear in that Tibet has been part of China for centuries (since before Orkney & Shetland were part of Scotland let alone Britain). When the communists took over the sainted Dalai Lama was running a regime based on human serfdom. The Chinese have gone to considerable lengths to maintain the Tibetan culture, restricting immigration & applying the one child rule only to Chinese.

    I challenge anybody to claim that the Chinese have not shown hundreds of thousands of times more respect for human rights in Tibet than NATO did in Krajina (which for obvious reasons gets infintely less coverage in our media) or to say that the Chinese have not done infinitely more to maintain the culture of Tibet & restrict immigration than NATO did to Kosovo.

    Anybody, opposing Chinese control of Tibet who cannot claim this must, by definition, either have spent hundreds of thousands of times longer opposing NATO or cannot be motivated by a concern for human rights.

    We also see that in Iraq we do not share the same enthusiasm for the right of Kurdish seccession & in my youth British assistance in the war against the Biafrans, resulting in 2.5 million deaths, was justified on the grounds that these deaths were preferable to secession.

  4. mikestallard
    Posted May 22, 2008 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    I deeply regret that the British Empire "is one with Nineveh and Tyre". We are now part of impotent Europe. So it pays us to shut up. The Thais have a saying, when faced with trouble: "Smile and Wave!!!!"

    China is the place which is now the "workshop of the world" and we had better get used to it. Luckily they just seem to want to be left alone at the moment (unlike the Japanese in 1941).
    It seems a bit silly to pick a fight with (nuclear) China unnecessarily.

    As a Catholic, I must say that the Chinese attitude to Catholicism stinks. If I were a Protestant, I would say the same. Were I a Muslim, I should look to the West of China where my fellows were under persecution. Buddhism in Tibet, of course, is under the same rules as the rest.
    At least the chinese Authorities are consistent with their "national Church" which (embarrassed laugh) very much resembles our own Church settlement…….

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