BUSH AND CONGRESS HONOR DALAI LAMAThis is the perfect time to hammer China on these issues. The arrival of the Olymipics in Beijing next year means the Chinese have a huge amount on the line. In order to make a good impression, they've spent vast treasure getting ready and may even shut the city down days before the events so the pollution has a chance to clear. China have always been so panicked about His Holiness because it's the foreign relations equivalent of the S-CHIP battle: tryants versus a buddha. By virtue of their dirt-cheap labor and vast markets, they've always held the cards when it comes to the Dalai Lama. But no more. They need us more than we need them.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 — Over furious objections from China and in the presence of President Bush, Congress on Wednesday bestowed its highest civilian honor on the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists whom Beijing considers a troublesome voice of separatism.
But the Dalai Lama said he felt “a sense of regret” over the sharp tensions with China unleashed by his private meeting on Tuesday with Mr. Bush and by the Congressional Gold Medal conferred on him in the ornate Capitol Rotunda.
With any luck, foreign governments will start to make a very big stink about Tibet (not to mention the Uyghurs) , because China can't retailiate, and in their effort to look good, they may actually be forced to make some concessions.
Here are a few passages from the Dalai Lama's speech:
I believe that today's economic success of both India and China, the two most populated nations with long history of rich culture, is most deserving. With their new-found status, both of these two countries are poised to play important leading role on the world stage. In order to fulfill this role, I believe it is vital for China to have transparency, rule of law and freedom of information. Much of the world is waiting to see how China's concepts of "harmonious society" and "peaceful rise" would unfold. Today's China, being a state of many nationalities, a key factor here would be how it ensures the harmony and unity of its various peoples. For this, the equality and the rights of these nationalities to maintain their distinct identities are crucial.Read the whole speech here.
With respect to my own homeland Tibet, today many people, both from inside and outside, feel deeply concerned about the consequences of the rapid changes taking place. Every year, the Chinese population inside Tibet is increasing at an alarming rate. And, if we are to judge by the example of the population of Lhasa, there is a real danger that the Tibetans will be reduced to an insignificant minority in their own homeland. This rapid increase in population is also posing serious threat to Tibet's fragile environment. Being the source of many of Asia's great rivers, any substantial disturbance in Tibet's ecology will impact the lives of hundreds of millions. Furthermore, being situated between India and China, the peaceful resolution of the Tibet problem also has important implications for lasting peace and friendly relation between these two great neighbors.
On the future of Tibet, let me take this opportunity to restate categorically that I am not seeking independence. I am seeking a meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people within the People's Republic of China. If the real concern of the Chinese leadership is the unity and stability of PRC, I have fully addressed their concerns. I have chosen to adopt this position because I believe, given the obvious benefits especially in economic development, this would be in the best interest of the Tibetan people. Furthermore, I have no intention of using any agreement on autonomy as a stepping stone for Tibet's independence.
Since you have recognized my efforts to promote peace, understanding and nonviolence, I would like to respectfully share a few related thoughts. I believe this is precisely the time that the United States must increase its support to those efforts that help bring greater peace, understanding and harmony between peoples and cultures. As a champion of democracy and freedom, you must continue to ensure the success of those endeavors aimed at safeguarding basic human rights in the world. Another area where we need US leadership is environment. As we all know, today our earth is definitely warming up and many scientists tell us that our own action is to a large part responsible. So each one of us must, in whatever way we can, use our talents and resources to make a difference so that we can pass on to our future generations a planet that is at least safe to live on.