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China Now Needs To Open Up: Tibet's Leader

January 14, 2011

Friday, 07 January 2011 20:11 YC. Dhardhowa, The Tibet Post International

Dharamshala: Tibet's spiritual and political leader His Holiness the
Dalai Lama on Tuesday (January 4) took part in his first video
conference discussion with three prominent Chinese intellectuals which
lasted just over an hour. Unlike the communist regime, His Holiness is
open to dialogue with China, and is always trying to reach out to
ordinary Chinese in order to discuss issues, including Tibet.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama said "geographically, we are faraway -
thousands of miles, but still we can see each other's face clearly, also
we can communicate with one another via online video, it shows that we
have reached the 21st Century."

"Such a video communication via Internet can not feel each other's
breath, however I was very pleased to meet people living in China, and
hope in the future it will be continued, I believe that China will
definitely change, one day we could meet face to face."

A total of 319 questions were asked, with His Holiness responding to
questions from the three Chinese intellectuals. Chinese writer Wang
Lixiong, initiated the online video discussion in 2011. He also
moderated the video conference discussion from Beijing. The other two
Chinese participants were Law Professor and civil rights activist Teng
Biao and prominent Human Rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who were in
Shenzhen.

Teng Biao and Jiang Tianyong were the prominent human rights lawyer
during the Chinese crackdown on Tibetans in 2008, they jointly issued a
statement saying "we are willing to provide legal assistance to
Tibetans." During the video conference, the lawyers questioned the Dalai
Lama about Wikileaks and about interaction with Chinese scholars.

Teng asked, "open communication and understanding between Chinese and
Tibetan people, particularly between Chinese and Tibetan intellectuals,
is very important and a constructive initiative to solve the Tibetan
problem peacefully. If you are willing to promote it, how do you promote
such exchanges and understanding between two sides? What are the main
obstacles to further development?

"I have made efforts to communicate with Chinese friends ahead of
Tienanmen events, I have also asked the same to Chinese friends who were
living in US and Canada. Despite some suspicious staring by our friends
from the mainland. Anyway, after Tienanmen events, then the
communication with Chinese people becomes quite strong, particularly
after the 2008 crisis in Tibet more and more Chinese have started paying
attention to the Tibetan issue," His Holiness the Dalai Lama replied.

His Holiness said that whenever he met with Chinese and foreign friends,
professors, and scholars, he talked about the need for China to be an
open society. "whenever I met with Chinese and foreign friends, I
usually told them, China now needs to open up."

The Tibetan spiritual leader has reiterated that his faith in the
Chinese people on the issue of Tibet remains unshaken. "I have met with
several hundred Chinese scholars and writers to discuss Tibet, many
Chinese intellectuals and writers fully support the Tibetans' middle-way
policy towards achieving genuine autonomy, our present middle-way policy
which is not a "we win, you lose" kind of stand, would be beneficial to
both China and Tibet."

"The recent report emerging out of Wikileaks indicated that, you told
the U.S. ambassador to New Delhi that the world should focus its
attention on the environmental problems in Tibet which cannot wait and
that the Tibetans can wait for five to 10 years for a political
solution. Is that true? What solutions do you suggest for it and what
are your actual views on this?" Jiang asked.

"As I said before, there will be no change in my stand, 'Middle-way
Approach would be beneficial to both China and Tibet, but, the
large-scale environmental problems in Tibet are a matter of great
sadness to me. It is not only sad for Tibet, these are problems looking
from a wider perspective, Tibetan environmental problems may impact many
of the rivers which flow through large areas of Asia, where more than a
billion people in the region depend on the water that comes from rivers
that originate on the Tibetan plateau," His Holiness replied.
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