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His Holiness the Dalai Lama Discusses Tibet with Chinese Students

October 18, 2010

Central Tibetan Administration (CTA)
October 15, 2010

His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Thursday
interacted with a group of Chinese students from
different academic institutions in the US, taking
up wide-range of issues ranging from why the
People's Republic of China should become a
responsible nation and ways to find a solution to the issue of Tibet.

Palo Alto, California -- The discussion was
attended by over 130 students, professors and
scholars, of which majority were Chinese. They
were all from Stanford University, University of
California, Berkeley, San Francisco State
University, and San Francisco Academy of Arts.

In his address His Holiness talked about the
importance of individual creativity for the
development of a society and that individual
freedom was needed for this. He said the People’s
Republic of China as the most populated nation
should take a more constructive and effective
path saying that the 1.3 billion people there had every right to know reality.

His Holiness said even before the Tiananmen
crisis he had been trying to reach out to Chinese
people but was faced with difficulty. Following
the Tiananmen development, it was much easier to
get responses from the Chinese.

He added that after the 2008 crisis in Tibet more
and more Chinese have started paying attention to
the Tibetan issue. His Holiness said that during
the past two years he had been having regular discussions with Chinese people.

Talking about the Tibetan issue, His Holiness
said that it was common knowledge that he was not
seeking independence (and many Tibetans were
critical of this position) but the Chinese
Government continued to label him as a splittist.
He said that the problems in Tibet were manmade
problems and so logically they can be resolved.

His Holiness then explained the development of
the dialogue process with the Chinese
leadership.  He said in 1974 a decision had been taken not to seek

Tibetan independence. Then in early 1979 his
elder brother, who acted as his emissary, was
informed by Deng Xiaoping that other than the
issue of independence everything else can be
discussed and resolved. His Holiness said that
the two thinking went well together. He said in
the early 1980s there was real hope of progress
when Hu Yaobang was there but then he was
displaced. In 2002 contact was re-established
with the Chinese leadership but there has been no genuine progress now.

His Holiness then answered questions from the
people. In response to what the people could do
to help on the issue of Tibet he said they could
spread the real picture to everyone. His Holiness
said that he always admired the Chinese people as
they were hard working. He also said as a Tibetan
Buddhist, he always paid salutations to the
Chinese Buddhists as they are senior but added
that in terms of knowledge the junior was doing quite well.

He said the problem was due to misunderstanding
created by the Chinese Government and that the
solution that he was striving for was of mutual benefit.

In answer to another question, His Holiness said
he divided China into Four Eras. Under Mao Zedong
era, ideology was prominent, under Deng Xiaoping
era, becoming rich was stressed, under Jiang
Zemin era, the Communist Party membership was
expanded to include other sectors of the Chinese
society, and under Hu Jintao era, harmonious
society was stressed.  His Holiness said that for
a harmonious society, individual freedom, free
flow of information, etc. were essential.  He
said things may be moving judging by recent
comments of Premier Wen Jiabao and the petition by Chinese elders.

When asked how religion and politics played their
roles, His Holiness said that he believed that
religion and politics should be separate. He
talked about the changes that have taken place in
Tibetan political system and that political
leadership was an elected one. However, he said
that political leaders need to have spiritual background.

Fang Zheng, whose legs have been amputated after
he was run over by a tank during the Tiananmen
demonstrations, told His Holiness of his
situation. He also referred to the Nobel Peace
Prize for Liu Xiaobo and said if there was an
opportunity for a meeting where did His Holiness
think it would be. His Holiness said he felt
saddened hearing about Fang’s situation. In terms
of a meeting with Liu he said that if there was a
possibility then it may be in Beijing.

His Holiness then advised the young Chinese
students to take more responsibility to make this
century a better one for all of us. Pointing to
an elderly Chinese professor, His Holiness said
they were all from the previous century but that
the young people had 90 years of this century to make a difference.

Earlier during the meeting, Ms. Tenzin Seldon, a
Tibetan student at Stanford University and one of
the organizers of the dialogue, made introductory
remarks. She said, “His Holiness the Dalai Lama
has worked tirelessly to promote meaningful
dialogue as the key to fostering the trust and
mutual respect we urgently need as we seek a
unified solution in the case of Tibet.

  I hope today that, with His Holiness’
encouragement, we can frankly exchange our
thoughts, and seek some common ground as we explore each other’s viewpoints.”

She added, “Through understanding and meaningful
dialogues can we foster trust, as well as build
mutual respect, and transparency with one
another. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama and the
Tibetan leadership in Exile have always believed
in the importance of dialogue to reach a solution
to the Tibetan issue and have encouraged that
between Tibetan and Chinese youth. This historic
meeting was only possible because of His Holiness’s conviction in this method.”

She said that the participants in the discussion
include 28 Chinese Graduate students, 60 Chinese
undergraduate students, 20 Professors and
scholars, 13 writers, poets, and artists, and 14 Tibetan students.

A representative of the Chinese students thanked
His Holiness for coming to speak to them.

His Holiness concluded saying that such meetings
were much appreciated as he had been advising
Tibetans to continue to reach out to Chinese and
to form groups with the aim to bring the two communities closer.
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