Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero today said the Dalai Lama can be a constructive partner for China.
At the roundtable on “The Dalai Lama: What He Means For Tibetans Today,” Ms. Otero said she had the honor of meeting several times with the Dalai Lama as an internationally recognized religious leader and Nobel Laureate.
“I have learned that for many of them, the Dalai Lama is the earthly manifestation of the living Buddha. To young Tibetans, I have seen that the Dalai Lama is a positive example of how to make the world a better place, and is a source of wisdom and compassion in their personal lives.” -Ms. Otero
She stressed that Dalai Lama’s views are widely reflected within Tibetan society, and command the respect of the vast majority of Tibetans. She said the U.S. government believes that the Dalai Lama can be a constructive partner for China, particularly as it deals with the challenge of resolving continuing tensions in Tibetan areas.
“His consistent advocacy of non-violence is an important factor in reaching an eventual lasting solution. China’s engagement with the Dalai Lama, or his representatives, to resolve problems facing Tibetans is in the interests of the Chinese government and the Tibetan people.” -Ms. Otero
She highlighted that the United States believes failure to address these problems and reexamine existing, counterproductive policies will exacerbate already existing tensions that could, in turn, undermine China’s efforts to maintain its current social and economic development.
Ms. Otero emphasized that the Administration’s goals on Tibetan issues are twofold.
“First, it is to promote a substantive, results oriented dialogue between the Chinese Government and the Dalai Lama or his representatives. Second, it is to help sustain Tibet’s unique religious, linguistic, and cultural heritages. The Administration at all levels – from the President, Secretary, Assistant Secretaries, to myself – has urged the Chinese Government to engage in a dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama.” -Ms. Otero
She stated that the United States reminds the Chinese government that the vast majority of Tibetans advocate non-violent solutions to Tibetan issues and genuine autonomy – not independence or sovereignty – in order to preserve Tibet’s unique culture, religion and its fragile environment.
“Regrettably, the Chinese government has not engaged in a substantive dialogue with the Tibetans since January 2010.” -Ms. Otero
She underscored that the U.S.government is extremely concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in China and in particular in the Tibet Autonomous Region and other ethnic Tibetan areas in neighboring provinces.
She highlighted that recent regulations restricting Tibetan language education, strict controls over the practice of Tibetan Buddhism, the arrests of prominent non-political Tibetans, and the heavy security presence reflect the difficult human rights situation there today. She pointed out that the forcible removal of monks from Kirti Monastery is also a cause for deep concern.
“Despite many challenges, we are committed to continuing our long-standing support for non-governmental organizations that work in ethnic Tibetan areas and assist Tibetan refugees in South Asia.” -Ms. Otero
Ms. Otero emphasized that both the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development support cultural and linguistic preservation, sustainable development and environmental preservation in Tibet and Tibetan majority areas, as well as Tibetan refugee communities in other countries, through numerous programs.