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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Update on His Holiness the Dalai Lama's France Visit

August 22, 2008

Report filed by Representative Jampal Chosang, in Paris.
Editing by Lobsang CHOEDAK
TibetNet
August 20, 2008

Paris -- His Holiness the Dalai Lama received a warm welcome from the
mayor upon his arrival in Vajradhara-Ling at Aubry-le-Panthou castle,
northwestern France, on 14 August.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama (center) with Jean-Marc Ayrault, French
National Assembly Socialist group president and Nantes Mayor, in
Nantes, western France on 18 August 2008/Photo:RFA

The mayor was joined by the head Lama Gyourme, Sanghas (monastic
community) and over two thousand people, including many French waving
Tibetan national flag to welcome His Holiness. His Holiness was
escorted to the main shrine hall, where the congregation offered
Mandrel and prayers for His Holiness the Dalai Lama's long life. His
Holiness also blessed the shrine, Mani Lhakhang and stupa.

Following welcome addresses by the mayor and the bishop, His Holiness
delivered a short speech on the importance of how we can lead a happy
and compassionate life.

After having lunch His Holiness left for Plouray, where Druckchen
Rimpoche's Centre is located. His Holiness was warmly received by the
Mayor of Plouray, the head Lama Nawang, Sangas and over 3000 people.
His Holiness had a similar program at Druckchen Rimpoche's Centre and
spent a night at the center on 14 August.

On 15 August, His Holiness left for Nantes by a special VIP
helicopter and two helicopters for the entourage. On his arrival in
Nantes, His Holiness was warmly received by the mayor of St herblain,
Pema Wangyal Rimpoche and the president of Association Oceane de
Sagesse, the organizer for His Holiness' pubic talk and the teachings
which is being held from 16 to 20 August at Zenith de Nantes, Metropole.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama (center) stands at a window near a Tibet
flag with Jean-Marc Ayrault, French National Assembly Socialist group
president and Nantes Mayor, in Nantes, western France on 18 August
2008/REUTERS/Stephane Mahe (FRANCE)

Later in the afternoon, His Holiness gave a public talk to 10,500
people on "Universal Peace through Inner Peace" to a capacity crowd
of 7000 people with an additional 200 more seats. Rest of the people
sat outside to watch His Holiness on screen and listen to his talk.
Towards the end of His talk His Holiness went out to see those who
could not get in and he asked them if they had saw and heard his
talk. All responded positively and respectfully to His Holiness'
inquiry and many were waving Tibetan national flag.

His Holiness said: "Since my arrival in France I saw many French
people waving Tibetan flag and I very much appreciate your solidarity
for the Tibetan cause because this flag is the symbol of Tibet as a
nation having very rich and ancient culture. In 1954 I visited China
and had meetings with Chairman Mao, during one of my meetings Mao
asked me whether Tibet has a flag. I told Mao we have a flag. Then he
told me Tibet is a special case and you all should keep that special
flag which is important. So I got permission from Chairman Mao to
keep this flag and thank you for keeping the flag to show your
solidarity for the Tibetan cause."

On 16 August, Mme Segolene Royal called on His Holiness to express
her and the Socialist Party's solidarity for the Tibetan cause. His
Holiness appreciated the gesture and briefed the former French
Presidential candidate on Tibet-China dialogue from 2002-2008; the
situation in Tibet today where Tibetans have no opportunity to
exercise their fundamental right; Tibetans being marginalized by the
Chinese governments policy of population transfer to Tibet;
importance of Tibetan culture and religion not only for Tibetans but
to those people living in northern India, Mongolia and the three
Russian republics who share the same cultural and religious heritage.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama after concluding a meeting with lawmakers
at the French Senate on Wednesday, 13 August 2008/AFP

Mme Royal expressed her desire to visit Tibet, which His Holiness
appreciated and encouraged her so that she can see the actual
condition of Tibetan people in Tibet. His Holiness said he would
instruct Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen to meet her so that more details on
the issue of Tibet can be updated to her. Then His Holiness left for
Zenith de Nantes Metropole to begin a five-day teaching series.

In the afternoon of 17 August, His Holiness had 40 minutes meeting
with a Chinese dissident delegation of 10 people led by Wei Jingshen,
including one Uighyur representative living in Germany. They
expressed their solidarity to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's approach
to resolve the issue of Tibet through peaceful dialogues and negotiations.

In the afternoon of 18 August, His Holiness visited the Town Hall of
Nantes city for an official reception hosted in honour of his visit
to Nantes by the city Mayor.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama laughs during a meeting with lawmakers at
the French Senate on Wednesday, 13 August 2008/AFP

Mayor Jean Mare Ayrult is also an MP and leader of the Socialist
Party at the French National Assembly - the lower House of French
Parliament. The mayor and his officials received His Holiness warmly
and escorted to the mayor's office attended by very important dignitaries only.

Mr Ayrukt expressed his solidarity to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's
policy to resolve the issue of Tibet through dialogues and requested
him to explain the current situation in Tibet and the process of
dialogue with the Chinese government.

His Holiness very much appreciated the mayor's support and explained
the current situation in Tibet according to the available information
and the dialogue process.

His Holiness said: "We gave our right hand to the Chinese government
and the left hand to our supporters in the free world for help to
solve our problem, but the right hand is empty and even burning
without getting anything. So it is natural we ask help from
supporters like the mayor and you all."

His Holiness and the mayor exchanged gifts, which was followed by an
address by His Holiness.

In his address, His Holiness spoke on the importance of preserving
Tibet's environment since major rivers of Asia originates from Tibet
and flow to China, India and other south east Asian countries where
millions of people depend their livelihood on the free clean flow of
water from these major rivers.

His Holiness also emphasised the importance of genuine and trusted
relation between the two most populous nations - India and China, as
that will have tremendous effect not only on finding out a solution
to the Tibet problem and for peace and stability in Asia. The
gathering very much applauded His Holiness the Dalai Lama's talk. At
the end of the function some media persons asked His Holiness why the
French President Sarkozy and the foreign minister did not meet him?
His Holiness replied: "Ask them, but President Sarkozy is a young
energetic person."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greets supporters as he leaves a Paris
hotel after a news conference, Wednesday, 13 August. His Holiness
said he has always supported China's hosting of the Games. But His
Holiness said the world will have to "wait and see" what happens
afterward. His Holiness is in France for a 12-day visit devoted
mostly to spiritual matters. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

Earlier on 19 August, His Holiness the Dalai Lama made a short visit
to a Vietnamese Buddhist Pagoda for blessing.

In his brief address at the Pagoda, His Holiness said: "Chinese,
Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese are older Buddhists and Tibetans are
younger as Buddhism spread to Tibet later." His Holiness said
Tibetans and Vietnamese went through similar circumstances as both
are subjugated by communist regimes.

His Holiness said in the 21st century communism is declining and
Buddhism is spreading especially to the west, although Buddhism
originated in the east. Therefore, Buddhists should be proud of, but
should work hard for preservation and promotion, His Holiness added.

His Holiness further said: "We Buddhists never say please follow
Buddhism." His Holiness also underlined the preservation and
promotion of Vietnamese's own culture and foster better unity among
themselves irrespective of their faith as all Vietnamese have their
same culture.

 From 15 - 17 August, some 350 Dholgyal propitiators were seen
carrying placards and distributing literature away from the teaching
venue. His Holiness made a brief explanation on Dholyal issue, which
was very much appreciated by the devotees attending the teachings.

Since the beginning of the teachings, every day His Holiness gave at
least two interview opportunities for French television and print
media. There has been extensive and good media coverage by the French
media of His Holiness' visit.

His Holiness will confer Padmasambhava Empowerment to the devotees in
the morning of Wednesday, 20 August.

On Thursday, His Holiness will leave for a one-day visit to Solgyal
Rinpoche's Lerab Ling Buddhist center.
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