His Holiness the Dalai Lama has kept up his campaign against China on the question of the alleged violation of the human rights of the Tibetans in China by the Chinese authorities. Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, His Holiness has undertaken a visit to Denmark, Iceland, Holland and France at the invitation of his supporters and admirers in these countries. This was his first visit ever to Iceland. He had visited the other three countries before.
Keeping in view the Chinese sensitivities, the local authorities projected his visit as private, but many local government leaders associated themselves with private functions organised in honour of His Holiness. Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller of Denmark met His Holiness privately at Copenhagen on May 29, 2009. Reacting to this, a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry said: "This has ruined the friendly, cooperative atmosphere between China and Denmark. China expresses strong dissatisfaction and protest over this." Explaining the meeting, the Danish foreign minister said: "The meeting with the Dalai Lama does not change Denmark's policy or our wish to build an ever closer relationship with China."
From Denmark, His Holiness went to Iceland on June 2 and 3, 2009. His engagements included a public talk on "Compassion, Values and Happiness", a visit to the Parliament House where he met the Speaker Mrs Asta Ragnheidur Johannesdottir and the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee and private meetings with the Ministers of Environment, Health, and Industry.
In Holland, His Holiness met the members of the Dutch Parliament on June 5,2009 and called on the international community to make an independent assessment of the situation in Tibet and put pressure on China to end the "oppression". The Agence France Presse (AFP) quoted him as saying:
"Please, international community, judge whether there is a problem or not. Go there and investigate. In case the majority of people genuinely are happy, then our information is wrong ... and we will have to apologise to the Chinese government . If, on the other hand, there is real resentment to China's ... oppression, then tell the Chinese government they should accept the reality and should start a realistic approach. Force is not a solution. My faith in the Chinese government is becoming thinner and thinner and thinner, but to the Chinese people: we have never been shaken in our faith. Tibet's future lay within the People's Republic of China but with cultural and religious autonomy. We are not seeking separation."
While the Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende avoided any meeting with His Holiness, His Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen met him privately at an inter-faith dialogue on June 5, 2009, at The Hague. The previous day, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, the office of His Holiness released the following statement issued by him:
"On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square students' democracy movement, along with others who take an interest in Chinese affairs, I respectfully honour those who died expressing the popular demand for the government to be more accountable to its people.
"The students involved in the Tiananmen Square movement were neither anti-communist nor anti-socialist. Their speaking out in defence of the Chinese people's constitutional rights, in favour of democracy, and taking a stand against corruption, truly conformed to the underlying beliefs of the Chinese Communist government. This was confidently stated by the then party chief Zhao Ziyang. Therefore, the forthcoming 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China presents a great opportunity to review the events of June 4, 1989.
"Great changes have taken place in the People's Republic of China since 1989. Today, it is a global economic power poised to become a superpower. It is my hope that the Chinese leaders have the courage and far-sightedness to embrace more truly egalitarian principles and pursue a policy of greater accommodation and tolerance of diverse views. A policy of openness and realism can lead to greater trust and harmony within China and enhance its international standing as a truly great nation."
His Holiness arrived in Paris on June 6,2009, to receive the award of the honorary citizen of Paris. He told the media on his arrival: " China has imposed a death sentence on Tibet. Since March 2008 I have the feeling that a very old nation and its heritage and culture have received a death sentence. The Chinese government makes a hard line policy, but the Chinese people are ignorant of the situation. The international community must go there to investigate, without restrictions." Lionnel Luca, President of the French Parliament's 170-strong Tibet Studies Group, who met His Holiness after his arrival, said:" He seemed to us very pessimistic. For the first time he told us that the March 2008 events were a provocation by the Chinese authorities. The Dalai Lama accused the Chinese state of sending its agents to smash up shops in an effort to blacken the name of Tibetan protest movements. "Luca belongs to the ruling party of President Nicloas Sarkozy.
In addition to statements by the Chinese Foreign Ministry condemning His Holiness' visit to these countries, the government -controlled Chinese media also encouraged a discussion on the Dalai Lama in the discussion groups of their web sites. The following are typical of some of the comments in a discussion group of the People's Daily:
"In Kashmir there is a permanent riot by Muslim against Hindu."
"Best to think beyond just one country's border to embrace the entire world and recognize that we all breathe the same air. "
"Tibet is Chinese and Chinese are Tibetans."
"The Chinese govt should not let this puppet of West & India Dalai Lama let down the great Chinese government . Dalai Lama has been bought for a few dollars by the Western & Indian govts. Why does not India give freedom to Kashmir and wants Tibet to have its freedom? Why these double standards? Kashmir is an independent state occupied by Indians while Tibet is an integral part of China."
"China has little respect for any culture but its own. Look at their history of assimilation, repression of freedoms, and religious distrust. Another example is the closing of websites for the purpose of denying their own people from growth and exploration. Tibetans have been reduced to the situation in Dharmsala by the Chinese government ."
"Dalai says, "Go to Tibet and see the hell on earth for yourselves". Why not go to Dharmasala and see what a pig sty the Tibetans have made of this once pastoral mountain retreat? The garbage is piled up as high on street corners and the Dalai Lama's own pile of words that trash out others. What a monk? Did he ever take vows? Remember proper speech, conduct, livlihood and so forth?"
"China always has to be mindful that Western countries attempting to use human rights, freedom of expression and other tricks to create internal chaos inside China. It is easier to use Dalai Lama as a tool for this purpose. Never let your guard down China , overseas Chinese will back you all the way. "
"Why would any country want to keep a region that does not actually want to be part of that country? Why do you fear secession so much? Is China not big enough to cope with a few more neighbours? "
" The US fought a civil war to keep the South from secession. China is not the only country to want to keep the country from splitting apart. "
" Why do you assume that the Dalai and his gang speak for a whole region? And what would the Dalai and his gang take Tibet back to if allowed to separate? What do you really "know" about the true nature and intentions of the Dalai and his groupies? What do you really "know" about what life was like in Tibet under the Dalai (for the masses not for a few parasites)? "
"I have had the most success in trying to expose the ugly side and intentions of the so-called Dalai by showing the accounts of the hard-core Nazis who went on their expedition to Tibet in 1938 (some of whom, like Dr. Bruno Berger, became lifelong friends of the Dalai) and praised the system of Tibet under the Dalai as the kind of system of barbarism and cruelty that they believed in and sought to build in Germany and throughout the world."
"Most Tibetans would rather be Chinese than going back to backward, impoverished serfdom under the Dalai Lama with no modern roads and communications. It's the Dalai Lama's followers and ignorant racist Americans who are spewing all the lies and anti-Chinese hatred. "
" Sources of some of the facts on the Dalai? National Geographic Special and History Channel Special on The Nazi Expedition to Tibet; "Himmler's Crusade" by Christopher Hale; "The CIA"s Secret War in Tibet" by Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison"
"Please take a note. With the previous riots done by the Dalai Lama’s cliques and supported by the UN countries and the U.S., now it is time for China to make a comeback by promoting a campaign for the charity in the name of Tibet’s progress by stating in all Chinese cities, the Dalai Lama and his buffoon flock aren’t the legitimate people to represent the Tibet majority of people, and at the same time to show that Chinese people are committed to the cause of Tibet."
"If the truth on Tibet was as this newspaper continually rants then there would be no need for the ranting. The fact is that this newspaper carries on an endless and constant series of attacks on the Dalai Lama and Tibet secessionists without EVER printing the opposing view, as does its master the CPC. That tells me that not even the people writing here on this topic believe what they say, they are merely trying to shout the loudest and hope it is accepted as the "truth".
" The best way to see the truth is to master the Chinese language. By doing that you will be able to read the historical records dated back to the nationalist regime, the Qing Dynasty, the Ming Dynasty, the Yuan Dynasty and others. Then you will know that China's sovereignty over Tibet and the theocratic system in Tibet isn't something cooked up by People's Republic government in the last 60 years."
"What you said is really trivial. Who cares? But we must continue to search for facts ourselves. The insurmountable obstacle to a better understanding of China is often in our own hearts. It is time to drop the prejudice, and see China ourselves."
"Please read what the Western Shugden Society says about Dalai Lama."
"Please educate the whole world about the truth of old Tibet and the progress of Tibet over the last 50 years. China under CPC has not only united the country physically but spiritually as well. Tibetans look just like the rest of Chinese . Tibetans are so nice, gentle ,calm and full of life.China and every Chinese will not tolerate any foreign country interfere with Chinese internal affairs. As a 4th generation overseas Chinese descendent in USA, I love you China, Tibet , President Hu."
" Dalai Lama is really boring. He excommunicated all the Shugden Monks, Monasteries and any private individuals for making fun of his ridiculous position that has caused him to commit Political Suicide. Keep up the education and make Barack Obama aware of this Wolf in Sheep Clothing and tell Pelosi to stick with her Catholic roots. She is acting like a school girl."
"I remember when President Jiang Zemin came to the United States some ten years ago. He told questioning students at Harvard University that the Chinese Liberation of Tibet was similar to the United States liberation of the slaves in the South during our civil war.
Since then I have looked into the history of Tibet, and have been horrified at the crimes against the Tibetan people perpetrated during the feudal system ruled by the Tibetan Buddhists. Shame on them and shame on the Dalai Lama."
" I think as long as we can remind ourselves to remain objective, and read about China from different sources of information, it is not too difficult to see China in the proper perspective. By doing so, it will become difficult for people like Dalai Lama and his supporters to mislead us. I believed in what Dalai Lama and his supporters said for a while, and later on I found that their stories do not add up."
B. Raman is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies.