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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Chinese scholars hope Dalai Lama could visit Beijing for talks

November 4, 2008

Phayul [Monday, November 03, 2008 16:09]
By Phurbu Thinley

Dharamsala, November 3: Exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai 
Lama on Saturday met with a group of Chinese scholars in which the 
latter expressed wish that the Tibetan leader could visit Beijing and 
speak with Chinese leadership.

14 Chinese scholars working in Japan, mostly as teachers of politics, 
of religion, of ethnic studies and other such subjects met with the 
Dalai Lama in a small private meeting, Tsewang Gyalpo Arya, an 
official from the Liaison Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for 
Japan & East Asia, in Japan, told Phayul.

According to Tsewang, the meeting lasted for more than two hours and 
held discussion that delved into issues mainly surrounding Tibet's 
problem.

The Chinese scholars asked Dalai Lama questions ranging from 
clarifications on the history of Tibet's relations with China, on his 
own dealings with the government in Beijing and on his plans for the 
future.

Tsewang said the Chinese professors grew more and more animated and 
forthcoming in their comments as the discussion went on.

Tsewang commented that upon hearing the Dalai Lama's words, the 
Chinese scholars did not hesitate to express their wish that the 
Tibetan leader could visit Beijing and speak with the Chinese 
leadership on his stated positions.

During the discussion, Tsewang said, "His Holiness described in detail 
his dealings with Mao Zedong in 1954, how Chairman Mao used to treat 
him at times like a son, and how His Holiness admired many aspects of 
the socialist system".

"His Holiness also recalled how Chairman Mao had said that China would 
help Tibet in material development for the next 20 years, and then a 
strong and powerful Tibet would be in a position to help China," 
Tsewang said of the Dalai Lama's meeting with Chinese scholars.

"He stressed that he had always spoken out against Olympic 
protests ... and that Tibet needed to be part of the People's Republic 
for economic reasons," Tsewang said.

Tsewang said the Dalai Lama also explained the Chinese group that he 
saw the place of the Tibetan Youth Congress, which China has unduly 
tried to tag it as an organization involved in violent terrorist 
activities, and its wish for full independence, even though the youth 
congress' policy is differed from that of his own, within a democracy.

During the discussion, Tsewang said the Dalai Lama emphasized over and 
over again that he had great confidence in Chinese people, but his 
trust in dealing with the Chinese leadership was shimmering.

On the other hand, he commended that the Chinese Communist Party has, 
in certain ways, been very realistic in adapting to changing 
circumstances through the moment from the Mao Zedong era to the Deng 
Xiapoing era to the time of Jiang Zemin to the preset.

The Dalai Lama, however, maintained that the key word in the Chinese 
term for 'People's Republic' is 'unity'.

"We have to have unity in terms of equality," he said, adding: "Unity 
must be based on trust. Trust must be based on equality."

The Tibetan leader told the scholars that the future of Tibetans in 
Tibet must be decided by Tibetans in Tibet. "The Tibetan issue," he 
reiterated, "is not my private issue". "It is the issue of Tibet as a 
whole and we are completely committed to democracy," he told the 
Chinese audience.

Later in the afternoon, the Dalai Lama met a group of 150 Chinese 
students and some 50 other Chinese individuals living in Japan.

Tsewang said the groups engaged in a spirited discussion with the 
Dalai Lama that lasted for almost three hours, a full hour longer than 
the allotted time.

Dalai Lama began the meeting, Tsewang said, by saying Chinese 
Buddhists are senior students of the Buddha, and so, as a younger 
student, he came with respect towards his elders".

Dalai Lama told the gathering that, despite the disturbances in March, 
Tibetans were not against Chinese, and that, wherever he traveled in 
recent months, he was delighted to meet new Chinese friends.

During the discussion session, one unidentified Chinese attendee 
explained how his view on the Dalai Lama changed completely after 
attending a talk by the Tibetan spiritual leader in Yokohama last year.

He explained until last year, he had always believed what he had heard 
in China about the Dalai Lama being an autocratic politician.

He said the fact that the Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize, made 
him think that there must be something that spoke to the world. This 
made him attend the talk the Dalai Lama offered in Yokohama.

Since then, he said, he found the Dalai Lama was transparent and 
trustworthy, and had been telling his Chinese friends to listen and to 
open up their minds and ears.

Beijing, however, regularly accuses the Dalai Lama of trying to split 
Tibet from China, which sent military troops to occupy the 
predominantly Buddhist Himalayan country in 1949, and has regularly 
protested against countries that agree to visits by him.

The Dalai Lama says he is only seeking a "real and meaningful" 
autonomy for Tibetan people within China and opposes the use of 
violence. He maintains he has a moral responsibility to act as the 
free spokesperson of the Tibetans in their struggle for justice, and 
says this commitment will cease to exist once a mutually beneficial 
solution is reached between the Tibetans and Chinese.

Dalai Lama's afternoon meeting with Chinese student and individual 
groups revolved mostly around the issue of Tibet and those Tibetans 
who are skeptical of his Middle Way policy in resolving Tibet's issue.

"The whole world believes that I am working for unity, except the 
Chinese government," the Dalai Lama told the Chinese groups. "So what 
can I do?" he said after pausing for a while.

Dalai Lama explained that he had asked the Chinese government to send 
people to come to Dharmasala to investigate his papers, even to go 
over recordings of what he said to Tibetans from Tibet, to see if he 
had really urged dissent. He said the Chinese government did not 
respond to undertake such an objective investigation.

Dalai Lama also took time to relate stories of death and violence he 
had heard from Tibetans who traveled to Dhramsala in recent months 
after the March unrest in Tibet this year.

Tsewang said the Dalai Lama devoted the remaining part of the 
prolonged discussion talking on compassion and interdependence, the 
two central principles of Buddhism, to rapturous applauses from the 
Chinese audience.

Tsewang said many Chinese individuals asked the Dalai Lama for 
Buddhist counsel on how to be a better person.

"If your mind is calm," the Dalai Lama said, "everything will 
improve". "Definitely suffering and happiness don't come from heaven," 
he said.

"Therefore, if we are looking for happiness, we should be kind to 
others," the Dalai Lama said before concluding his discussion.

As His Holiness was leaving the place, Tsewang said, dozens of Chinese 
people in the audience cloaked around him and were sobbing with emotion.

The 73-year old Tibetan leader arrived in Japan on Friday for a week-
long visit. He will stay until November 7 and is scheduled to give 
talks on spirituality from Tuesday.
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