Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dalai Lama speaks out on China rule; Tibet’s worst days under military yoke



NALIN VERMA


The Dalai Lama today asked people across the world to visit his country under the “military occupation” of China to see for themselves the “sufferings” of Tibetans, as his five-day peace lectures ended with an “emphatic political” appeal.

“I request all of you to make a visit to Tibet to have your assessment of the situation. Particularly after 2008, the situation has turned worse in Tibet and your Tibetan fellow human beings are undergoing the worst-ever suffering under Chinese military rule,” the Buddhist monk told a gathering that included hundreds of westerners.

The condemnation of Beijing’s “dictatorship” has come despite a condition Delhi had set the Tibetan leader: that he wouldn’t make any political statement against China.

However, once in a while, the Dalai Lama has been making statements bordering on the political to address concerns of his people, and Delhi is unlikely to make it an issue, especially against the backdrop of friction between India and China over visas for Kashmiris and Arunachal Pradesh.

Observers described the Dalai Lama’s statement as an “emphatic” comment that may have been prompted by the presence of so many people from non-Asian and non-Buddhist countries.

The five-day lectures at Bodh Gaya, the place of the Buddha’s enlightenment 2,500 years ago, drew some 4,000 visitors from Australia, Africa and Europe apart from the nearly 30,000 domestic audience.

The Dalai Lama’s impassioned plea came within a year of his appeal last March to the UN and other international agencies to “inspect the violation of human rights” in Tibet. The agencies, however, did not respond to the spiritual leader’s appeal from Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, apparently because of China’s clout.

Today, in the presence of visitors from nearly 50 countries, the 74-year-old monk asked the non-Buddhist world to verify if what “China has been propagating” was true.

“The Chinese government’s propaganda agencies tell that 50 to 60 per cent people in Tibet are happy for they have no objection to living under Chinese rule. If after visiting China you find truth with what China has been propagating, I will have no objection. But visit the place under the military dictatorship of the worst order to make an assessment of the truth on your own,” he said.

“If you do not have money, please borrow it,” he added in a lighter vein, to applause from the crowd. “Or buy Tibetan antiques to do business and earn money to see the sufferings of your fellow human beings in Tibet.”

He thanked the people from the West for turning up for the lectures in such large numbers.

“You may be different in colour and nationalities. But all human beings are the same for they share the same emotion, same intelligence and the same sensory organs. The mind cutting across human beings feels the sufferings and happiness in the same manner,” he said, striking an emotional chord with the gathering. (The story first appeared in The Telegraph on January 10, 2010)

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