Q 1. We have completed 108 schools in Tibet, so now what more?
D.L. Every effort made in Tibet is very important. Continue with all your efforts. You can do it here too.
We have a difficult political situation, but that situation is changing from within China. More and more intellectuals show sympathy and concern for Tibet. The official Chinese view is expressed by officials, but in private communication some such persons express understanding. So, there is no reason to feel discouraged. Do not feel discouraged! My feeling, after all that I am hearing from businessmen and artists for example, is that there is a keen interest inside China for Tibetan culture.
As an example of this, in Beijing these days there was an arts exhibition by artists. Tibetan culture was mentioned with interest.
The general Chinese population knows very little about Tibet. They also know very little about the very big differences between Tibetan and HAN perspectives. Yet more and more the Chinese recognize Tibet and are interested in Tibet, and there is some positive changes among the Chinese businessmen.
You in the Swedish Board should try to find forms to have dialogues with Chinese. It makes your work a little easier.
Your attitude should be frank and transparent. We are not always in agreement with the Chinese point of view. But we emphasize and agree with what the Chinese constitution states in terms of “.. all people should get better education”. The Tibetan language is different from the Chinese. Thus the Tibetan language (not only vocal but also in script) should be used for this education task – not Swedish or Chinese!
I have met top scientists from USA and Germany several times. They are eager to learn from Buddhist science. In my view we can talk about 3 different aspects of what Buddha taught :
a. Science b. Philosophy c. Religion
So far the Science of Matter has nowadays been developed the most. The Science of Mind is urgently in need to be developed. These western scientists need for example to develop the science dealing with destructive emotions. A key issue is: what to preserve from the earlier type of knowledge?
The Tibetan style of approaching life is not always aggressive like the Khampas! I myself come from Amdo. We are a different sort, and he (Soenam) is from U (Central Tibet).
Q 2. Tibet is changing so rapidly. Would H.H. not like to cooperate as quickly as possible with the PRC?
D.L. The question relates to the entirety of Tibet, not only part of it. The United Front often accuses us that we drive the issue of `Greater Tibet´, which are not words that we use. Here they refer not only to the Autonomous Region, TAR, but also to areas under Tibetan influence, such as the 4 other provinces. The issue is : how should we treat all these areas? Even the Prime Minister has recognized Tibetan interest not only in TAR, but also in the 4 other parts of Tibetan related regions.
Today the Chinese government accepts this view that you have to consider all these regions when speaking about Tibetan issues. Some western scholars told us that we are asking for too much! But we do not understand `independence´, (nor claim for independence for these areas) in the same way that the Chinese do. Rather, we consider this issue to be closely related to what is within the Chinese constitution, and of its implementation and regional connotations.
At this moment the United Front always demonstrates a negative attitude, so we can wait. But we are also ready to participate in discussions and negotiations, especially with the constantly renewed Chinese government and leaders.
In the meantime, your organization seems to be doing a very good job with the PRC. Good Luck to you! Don`t you have any issues with the Chinese? The Tibetan spirit is very highly strong!
Q 3. We have been purposely friendly with the PRC and have been able to set up our school system for 13,000 children. But can our small organization play a minor role in facilitating a dialogue between Beijing and Dharamsala?
D.L. No! They – the Chinese – do not want to have any `go-betweens´ as far as we have understood it.
Q 4. Would H.H. not like to visit Tibet to see the transformations for himself ?
D.L. As early as 1983 we took the initiative and expressed our interest that I wanted to go to Tibet. We even planned for the journey. The Chinese government refused the visit. In 1992 again a new attempt was made. In the 4th meeting the United Front offered that I could send some observers to check the developments in China. With regard to me coming to China (not to Tibet as was my proposal) they said that the Dalai Lama cannot come, not even as a spiritual person as we had suggested. He (the Dalai Lama) would always come with his political role, they said. So there was no travel at that time either. But I am ready to go there if their approaches change.
Q 5. Aside from psychological support – what kind of practical assistance do you and the `Exile Government´ extend to Tibetans living in Tibet?
D.L. Nothing! As an expression of the deadlocked situation I will provide a recent example. When the earthquake occurred recently in China I sent some money to the Chinese, but they rejected the support. The Chinese are refusing all help from the Dalai Lama. I also sent money to the Pakistan Embassy after their earthquake. First they accepted it, but then sent the money back. Inside Tibet, the Chinese reject any funds coming from the Dalai Lama. So at this time we cannot operate at all inside Tibet.
Q 6. Is there any special department within the `Exile Government´ designed only for the Tibetan cause?
D.L. There is no separate, specific department for internal or external matters.
In our administration here it concerns dealing with those who come from Tibet, in terms of education or rehabilitation needs, and in organizing the Reception Center for refugees both in India and Nepal.
Q 7. Should a group of people not be set up who can give a clear picture of what is going on and in this way promote a better understanding and atmosphere for the dialogue with the PRC?
D.L. I think the obstacle before was ignorance, but now nothing can be done because since 2008 the Chinese know what is going on here. The present leading administration in Beijing decided that the Dalai Lama should not be allowed to visit China or Tibet because then they think that the problem will get worse.
A Chinese person told me that when in Lhasa he had seen an old Tibetan woman doing prostrations in front of the Jokhang temple. Just beside her there were Chinese soldiers doing military exercise and yelling at each other. The Chinese person felt that it was as if they were doing this intentionally to provoke the lady.
Actually, they are the real `splitters´. They think that Tibetans will give way under the pressure of the gun. Nowadays more and more Tibetans have negative feelings towards this method.
One thing that can help for example is that more than 1,000 articles have been written in Chinese showing the truth about the situation. I always say that the power of the truth is more powerful than the power of the gun.
So, we must have more contact with businessmen, artists, etc. It is no longer any use to keep in contact with the politicians. We meet officials and businessmen and we know that outwardly they criticize the Dalai Lama, but then they have my photo in their pockets! One should have more contact with Chinese visitors in order to provide a new and true perspective for them.
Q 8. It is sometimes said that if change is to come, it must come from inside Tibet. What kind of change is it you are waiting for and expecting to happen in Tibet?
D.L. First, the Tibetan national spirit is there! That holds true for both uneducated and educated alike. And it holds true for the religiously minded and for those who are not so religious. Those who are more sensible in Tibet fully support our approach. Writers and educated Tibetans are supportive of the middle path that we have introduced before. For the time being we do not expect some new ideas or change, or new events. After 2008, 99% have a strong national spirit which is much sharper than before. The Chinese look at every Tibetan with suspicion.
Q 9. Your Holiness has often said that education is the key and it is the most important factor for the development of Tibet. What kind of support in the field of education has the `Exile Government´ been able to extend to those living in Tibet?
D.L. Nothing! The only thing I have been able to do is to ask some NGOs to support students coming from Tibet and to give them the means for their education. But this has been outside of Tibet. This has been very useful.
Q 10. We have heard that the `Exile Government´ has chosen `Regional Autonomy´ for all Tibetans, a long process! Are there not some short cuts and a quicker solution for Tibet (e.g. in terms of the autonomy of Central Tibet)?
D.L. Ironically, the simplest way to approach this problem would be if I, after fifty-one years of struggle, was to give up one day, and to move on that day singlehandedly to China with a white flag of surrender in my hand. But the Tibetan spirit is very firm so I cannot give in. Never give up! Never! In the short term we do not envisage any great changes.
In early 1980 something seemed to happen as the Chinese leader Hu Yaobang was in Lhasa. He said at that time that 80% of all complaints from Tibetans were mostly true and that there was a strong need for new openness. Very soon after, a 5-point program was launched by the Chinese authorities about what to do. But then suddenly there was no movement any longer.
A Western journalist recently asked me what I would like to ask his Prime Minister. I answered that a Prime Minister does of course have influence, especially in the government, but that others in society such as businessmen and professors etc. are also independently very active, for example in the field of education. So, it is not always government leaders that are the keys to the development, especially not if they are arrogant! Ordinary people can be much more important.
I would like that people abroad take every chance to inform Chinese who are passing through their country about Tibet. Information coming for example from Chinese, who have been abroad, would carry more weight.
Instead of criticism of Chinese behavior, one should focus on the importance for China, in a modern world, to create more trust by developing in accordance with their (Chinese) constitution. The current lack of openness is very harmful for the Chinese development. They should be recommended to open up their society.[nggtags gallery=0028]