Dalai Lama calls China’s leadership ‘realistic,’ says open to renewed talks

Tetsuo Kogure, The Asahi Shimbun | April 9, 2015

GIFU–Even though he is forced to live in exile, the Dalai Lama had words of praise for China’s current leadership and its aggressive attempts at reform, and said he is willing to continue dialogue with Beijing on autonomy.

“Today’s China, compared with (that of) a few years ago, (has) changed much under the leadership of Xi Jinping,” the 14th Dalai Lama told The Asahi Shimbun in an interview here on April 8. “They are seriously struggling (to tackle) corruption.”

The Tibetan spiritual leader, who began his visit to Japan on April 2, described the Xi administration as being “more realistic” than past Chinese governments, and said he would keep a close watch on Beijing’s reaction to his offer to resume talks.

The Dalai Lama is scheduled to lecture on Buddhist teachings in Tokyo on April 12 and 13, which will be aired live at movie theaters across Japan.

While official dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai Lama’s envoys ground to a halt in 2010, the Tibetan leader said Tibet will not seek independence. He said he is prepared to reopen talks at any time with the Chinese government.

“Contact (with Beijing) is still there,” the Dalai Lama said. “We will see, for our part, no change. (We are) still fully committed to the ‘middle way’ approach.”

“Hard-liners still accuse (us) of being separatists, (though we are) actually not. The whole world knows we are not seeking independence,” he said. “Some moderate leaders are quite keen to find some mutually good solution.”

With regard to the selection of his successor, the Dalai Lama stressed the decision should be left “up to the Tibetan people.”

He added that he discussed the issue with Tibet’s Buddhist leaders several years ago.

“My physical condition is quite good. Some even say–I (will be) 80 (in July)–I may live another 20 years,” he said. “We (will) discuss the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama (further), then finalize it when my age reaches around 90.”

His remarks were in response to concerns among some Tibetans that a failure to select his successor may deal a blow to the campaign for autonomy.


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