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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."

Dalai Lama's Vancouver supporters hold out hope spiritual leader will return to Tibet

April 12, 2009

By Matthew Burrows
Georgia Straight (Canada)
April 8, 2009

Vancouverite Victor Chan has spent many hours in the company of the Dalai Lama.

And Chan, cofounder of the Dalai Lama Centre for
Peace and Education, told the Straight he has
asked the 73-year-old exiled Tibetan spiritual
leader whether or not he will return to Tibet in his lifetime.

"I asked the question, but the answer is never
very satisfactory, because we are all engaging in
crystal-ball gazing,” Chan said by phone from New
York City on April 2. “My guess is as good as anyone out there.”

Chan, currently in the Dalai Lama’s home-in-exile
in Dharamsala, has invited the Nobel laureate to
a September peace summit in Vancouver.

The 14th Dalai Lama was forced to flee Tibet for
India in 1959 -- 50 years ago -- following the
Chinese invasion and subsequent occupation. Many
Tibetans still await his return to Potala Palace,
the seat of his throne in the Tibetan capital of
Lhasa, now part of the China-controlled Tibet Autonomous Region.

Mati Bernabei, vice president of the Canada Tibet
Committee’s Vancouver chapter, said the prospect
of a return to Tibet—even just a visit—is “a hope”.

"Looking at the current state of affairs, it
doesn’t look likely at this moment, but neither
did the downing of the Berlin Wall,” Bernabei
told the Straight. “In terms of predicting what’s
to happen in the future, Tibetans absolutely want
to go back and they want the Dalai Lama to go
back. It’s absolutely the hope, but Tibetans are
really clear they don’t want the Dalai Lama going
back under present conditions because they are
absolutely terrified for his safety."

On April 25, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., the CTC will
hold a vigil at the Chinese Consulate (3380
Granville Street) to commemorate the 20th
birthday of the 11th Panchen Lama. The then
six-year-old boy was kidnapped, along with his
family, by Chinese authorities in 1995 and his
whereabouts and welfare have not been made known.
The Panchen Lamas are historically the
second-highest ranked lamas in Tibet after the Dalai Lamas.

Calls to the Chinese Consulate were not returned by Straight deadline.

CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
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