Dalai Lama Praises Talks with China
Are tensions easing between China and Tibet? In a SPIEGEL interview, the Dalai Lama has spoken positively about recent talks with Beijing. He says the tone of discussions has been "respectful." Still, the Tibetan spiritual leader is calling for Germany and the West to continue applying pressure on China.
If Chinese leaders are convinced that the Dalai Lama is personally responsible for inciting the people of Lhasa in Tibet, the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader told SPIEGEL in an interview, "then they should go to Oslo and see to it that I am stripped of my Nobel Peace Prize."
In an extensive interview with SPIEGEL one week before a planned visit to Germany, the Dalai Lama has called on Beijing to either provide evidence to support its allegations against him or to finally pursue a course toward a compromise.
The Dalai Lama also spoke positively about the results of the recent talks between two of the Tibetan spiritual leader's envoys and Chinese negotiators in Shenzhen on May 4. He said that both sides had shown a willingness to find a "common approach to achieve" a solution to the existing problems. That readiness, he said, was in no way abstract, adding that there had been "concrete proposals" for the next formal round of talks that both parties have agreed to. The discussions so far, he said, had taken place in a comfortable atmosphere that was "not aggressive, but rather respectful."
The Tibetan spiritual leader attributed China's willingness to engage in talks following the March insurgency in Tibet to international pressure and the upcoming Summer Olympics taking place in Beijing. "I can only encourage every free society, especially Germany, to sustain this pressure," he told SPIEGEL.
The Dalai Lama is planning to meet with politicians during his trip to Germany, a development that has sparked fresh political tensions with Beijing. "Hopefully the Chinese will contain their protests this time," he said, referring to Beijing's
diplomatic sparring with Berlin last autumn after German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the Dalai Lama.
Recently Merkel said she planned to
meet with the Tibetan spiritual leader again, but no such plans are on the table for his next visit. Merkel will be on a trip to Latin America when the Dalai Lama arrives, and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has also said that he does not plan to meet the Dalai Lama during the exiled Tibetan leader's visit to Germany.
However, the Dalai Lama is expected to meet with Norbert Lammert, the head of the German Bundestag (or parliament) as well as Jürgen Rüttgers, the governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state.
SPIEGEL ONLINE will publish the full interview with the Dalai Lama on Monday.