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Dalai Lama - RFI exclusive interview

Political transparency can make China great, says exiled leader

Article published on the 2009-10-21 Latest update 2009-10-25 08:42 TU

The Dalai Lama speaks with RFI journalist Yan Chen(Photo: RFI/Philippe Nadel)

The Dalai Lama speaks with RFI journalist Yan Chen
(Photo: RFI/Philippe Nadel)

The world doesn't have confidence in China because it lacks transparency, the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, told RFI in an exclusive interview. He blamed China’s shortcomings on a lack of press freedom and free speech, which he says is damaging the country’s image.

Speaking to Yan Chen, of RFI’s Chinese service, in the northern Indian city of Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama said that China is well positioned to occupy an important place on the world scene – and is therefore obliged to help and serve the world.

But he warned that China is far from assuming the responsibilities of a great country.

“If one day China wants to occupy its position as a great power with dignity, it must move towards political transparency. It is because China is not transparent, that it is feared by its neighbours and the international community,” he said.

The Dalai Lama, who was not received by Barack Obama during his recent visit to the United States, said the US President was right not to irritate the Chinese government by speaking with the Tibetan leader before talks in China.

The Dalai Lama is assisted by his interpreter(Photo: RFI/Philippe Nadel)

The Dalai Lama is assisted by his interpreter
(Photo: RFI/Philippe Nadel)

“I agree with him because our final goal is to resolve the Tibetan problem … It was agreed that when Obama returns from China, he will meet with me when it is possible,” he said, adding that the meeting is likely to be at the end of the year. 

“I saw the German Chancellor and the French President last year, and they were both punished by the Chinese government. If Obama meets with me now, the Chinese will have a problem. Should they also punish Obama?”

In 1954, when in Beijing as a delegate, the Dalai Lama met Uighur representatives from China’s restive Xinjiang province. He said that at the time he had been aware they were suffering deeply and were unhappy with their situation.

When asked about a possible alliance between the Tibetan and Uighur people to fight for the kind of autonomy he advocates, the Tibetan leader said he had discussed plans for the future while meeting the Uighurs again after he left Tibet in 1959.

Interview: Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, northern India

21/10/2009 by Yan Chen


“There were those among them who wanted independence and who recommended armed struggle to become independent,” he said. “This is the reason we distanced ourselves, little by little.

“Since dissident Rebiya Kadeer left China, I saw her for the first time in the US. We were not able to speak much. Then, I saw her for the second time in Germany in 2007. I spoke to her for a long time about my convictions and my point of view on autonomy and on non-violent struggle. She approved of my ideas entirely. 

“I told her that as the leader of the Uighurs abroad, she has the duty to unite all the Uighurs, and the children of Uighurs abroad … Unfortunately, this group has not yet come together.”

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