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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Dalai Lama reaches out to Chinese

October 10, 2009

By Shaun Tandon
(AFP) - October 7, 2009

WASHINGTON - The Dalai Lama on Wednesday reached out to China, saluting a
Beijing-based novelist who has defied China by seeking reconciliation with
the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

On a visit to Washington, the Dalai Lama presented an award to Wang Lixiong,
who helped spearhead a petition by more than 300 prominent Chinese who last
year questioned a crackdown on major protests in Tibet.

China has tried to isolate the Dalai Lama, pressing nations including the
United States to publicly shun him. Organizers did not announce Wang's
attendance before the ceremony, saying it could put him at personal risk.

At a theater in Washington's Chinatown, Wang greeted the Dalai Lama by
folding his hands in a traditional Tibetan greeting. The two men exchanged a
lengthy embrace as the Tibetan leader draped him with a ceremonial white

Wang, who is married to leading Tibetan poet Woeser, told the crowd that the
petition signers were "in no way what the Chinese propaganda professed us to
be -- anti-China. We are the opposite, we dearly love China.

"But loving China does not amount to loving the government. Daring to
criticize the government is done for the good of China, but a government
that cannot accept criticism can only bring harm to China," he said to a
standing ovation.

He regretted that China had rejected the Dalai Lama's "Middle Way" of
seeking greater rights for Tibetans within the context of Chinese rule.

"The false propaganda," Wang said, "has made it difficult for the majority
of Chinese to understand the truth about Tibet and they have no way of
knowing about the Dalai Lama's Middle Way."

He alluded to the risks for himself, voicing concern over Liu Xiaobo -- a
prominent dissident who helped him on the petition and was later imprisoned
as he led a separate campaign for democracy and human rights.

Organizers of the award, presented by the International Campaign for Tibet,
said that Wang's wife Woeser, another rare voice in Beijing for the Tibetan
viewpoint, was not allowed to travel to the United States.

The Dalai Lama, who has met Wang several times previously, praised him as
courageous and regretted that Chinese propaganda often describes "Tibetans,
and particularly Dalai Lama, as a demon."

"Often the Chinese unfortunately describe these people as Western
anti-Chinese forces," he said.

"No, certainly not," he said. "I always say our supporters are not
pro-Tibetan but pro-justice, pro-nonviolence."

"All those supporters actually clearly tell me, because your struggle comes
through non-violence, therefore we come to help you," he said. "If one day
you do violence, then that support withdrawn."

Despite the Dalai Lama's appeal for a Middle Way, China accuses him of
separatism and says his "clique" has encouraged unrest in Tibet.

Tibet last year witnessed the biggest protest in years in the run-up to the
Beijing Olympics coinciding with the anniversary of a 1959 uprising that led
the Dalai Lama to flee to India, where he has remained ever since.

China has said "rioters" were responsible for 21 deaths, while saying that
its security forces killed only one "insurgent." But the Tibetan government
in exile said more than 200 Tibetans were killed in the subsequent

Since the crackdown, China has ramped up pressure on other nations not to
receive the Dalai Lama.

President Barack Obama will not meet him, marking the first time in 18 years
the Dalai Lama has visited Washington without a presidential meeting. The
White House said Obama will see him after visiting China next month.

Hollywood actor Richard Gere, the chairman of the board of directors of the
International Campaign for Tibet, contrasted Wang and Obama.

"I would just hope that our president had the courage and wisdom of the over
300 Chinese who wrote and signed that extraordinary document," said Gere,
who supported Obama in last year's election.
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