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HHDL Speaks on Middle Way in California

posted May 5, 2012, 6:41 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated May 5, 2012, 6:44 PM ]
April 23, 2012

Excerpt from HH the Dalai Lama's comments in Long Beach, California (from the official website of His Holiness):

One individual wanted to know what made the Tibetans continue with their Middle Way Approach. His Holiness said that in 1974, when China was in the midst of the Cultural Revolution and the Tibetan refugees had more or less settled in the settlements, there was the discussion to find a mutually beneficial solution to the Tibetan issue. Then in 1979 direct contact was established with the Chinese leadership. Deng Xiaoping had sent a message saying that other than the independence of Tibet all other issues can be discussed and resolved. That message complemented the thinking of the Tibetan leadership then, he said.

Subsequently, when challenges arose in the dialogue process, a campaign was launched to ascertain the desire of the Tibetans in exile. Although the Tibetans in Tibet could not openly participate in the process, efforts were made to seek their views, too. Most of the people felt that the Middle Way Approach was mutually beneficial.

Since Ms. Rebiya Kadeer was present in the room, His Holiness said that the Uyghurs of Xinjiang are known for their struggle for independence. However, he said following their meetings, Ms. Kadeer also understood the significance of the Middle Way approach and supported it. He said that the Chinese United Front authorities accuse His Holiness with conspiring with people like Ms. Kadeer, but in reality he said that their contact had the Uyghur adopt such a position.

He said for the past 11 years, since 2011 his position was that of semi-retirement following the election of Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche. After Rinpoche finished his two terms and a new leadership was elected in 2011, the new leader had also committed himself to supporting the Middle Way Approach as he saw it as a sound policy.

He said that since this approach was seen as a rational one it has received majority support and has been continuing.

Another person asked about the issue of “great Tibet” and how this fit into the Tibetan struggle. His Holiness responded that what the Tibetans were striving for was the same rights under the Chinese Constitution for all Tibetans. He said the decline of Tibetan language, tradition and environment affected all Tibetans wherever they were living. Since Tibet was economically backward, it was in the Tibetans’ own interest to remain within the People’s Republic of China. What the Tibetans needed was protection for the distinct Tibetan language, environment, etc., and genuine autonomy.

He said that although the Tibetans have been adopting the same approach in line with the message of Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese United Front only called names such as separatists, counter-revolutionaries and recently even a Nazi.

His Holiness said that he was a little perturbed that the Chinese people were not getting to hear the truth. If there was freedom and democracy the people would be able to understand the truth, he said. He added that with freedom and democracy in China, the Tibetan issue could be resolved easily, even within a week. Not only the Tibetan problem, but also the problems of the Uyghur people can be resolved with justice. To date, even though the Chinese claim to want stability and unity, the approach being used was one of force. This can only exacerbate the problem. He said in 2008 there were protests in Tibet, in 2009 the Uyghur people protested and in 2010, the Mongols protested. Even in China protests are being undertaken by the Chinese people themselves, he said, referring to the development in Guangdong.

His Holiness said when news came about the Charter ’08, he was in Warsaw in Poland and immediately announced his support to it. He said change would definitely take place in China. He referred to Premier Wen Jiabao’s repeated call for political reform, including following the session of the National People’s Congress this year, and the subsequent development concerning Bo Xilai. He felt there would be a big change in China. However, the important thing, he said, was that the change should be a gradual one. He said eventually the Chinese Communist Party, too, should retire similar to his own retirement.

Another person asked whether he would be able to visit Tibet as a spiritual and temporal leader. His Holiness responded that under the present situation where he was being considered a demon it was obvious that if he were to go eventually he would be in prison. He said he was concerned that the Chinese people do not have access to information. He said first there was the need to be transparent about the truth. He repeated his assertion that the 1.3 billion Chinese people have every right to know the reality and that they also have the ability to judge what is right what is wrong. He also said it was important that the legal standard in China reach that of international standard.

Personally, he said, that he had devolved his political authority to the directly elected leader and his responsibility was on spiritual matters. He talked about his commitment to promote inter-religious harmony and human values and felt that he could make a contribution on these even to the People’s Republic of China.

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