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 â€œNonsenseâ€, and to those who would demonise him as a â€œwolf in monkâ€™s clothingâ€ 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 Lamaâ€™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.