News / Asia

    Dalai Lama Urges China to Embrace Democracy on Tiananmen Anniversary

    Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama laughs during his annual teaching for Tibetan school and college students at the Tibetan Children's Village School in Dharmsala, India, June 4, 2014.
    Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama laughs during his annual teaching for Tibetan school and college students at the Tibetan Children's Village School in Dharmsala, India, June 4, 2014.
    Reuters
    Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama marked the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing on Wednesday by urging China to embrace democracy and offering prayers for the protest “martyrs.”
     
    The Dalai Lama, reviled by Beijing as a separatist, made the rare comments on the June 4, 1989, violence at a prayer meeting two years after he renounced politics.
     
    “I offer my prayers for those who died for freedom, democracy and human rights,” the Nobel Peace Prize winner said according to a statement posted on his web site (dalailama.com).
     
    “While great progress has been made to integrate into the world economy, I believe it is equally important to encourage China to enter the mainstream of global democracy,” he added.
     
    Initiatives for China, a Washington-based group that campaigns for a peaceful democratic transition in China, earlier released the same statement together with the text of prayers led by the Dalai Lama remembering the Tiananmen victims.
     
    “In this anniversary of China's young martyrs, let us pray that the Chinese leaders of today would turn their hearts away from fear and defensiveness, that they would reach out to the victims and victims' families, and repent of the massacre of China's youth,” the Buddhist religious leader said.
     
    Comments condemned

    China's Foreign Ministry condemned the comments.
     
    “Everyone is clear about who the Dalai [Lama] is. His statement has ulterior motives,” ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing.
     
    Despite his global renown, the 78-year-old Dalai Lama is viewed by Beijing's communist leadership as a dangerous “splittist” who espouses violence. He denies the charges, saying he only wants genuine autonomy for his homeland.
     
    China has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since troops marched in in 1950. The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule.
     
    The Tibetan government in exile, headed by Lobsang Sangay, will hold a seminar on Thursday in Dharamsala, its base in north India, outlining its so-called Middle Way Approach that seeks to bring autonomy to Tibet through peaceful change.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Wangchuk from: NY
    June 05, 2014 9:43 AM
    Democracy for China! Freedom for Tibet!

    by: a Chinese teacher from: China
    June 05, 2014 5:58 AM
    i'm in support of Jaay from: London,and want to say to Dean from: New York that what you have said has nothing to do with this example. and i think you need to learn more about the election of Tibetan spiritual leader, which is different from that in England and Spain. There is also one point for you to remember:every coin has 2 sides, so there is no exception for China's governess in Tibet. on the one hand, there is no denying the fact that under China's governess, Tibet enjoys rapid growth and people's lives are improved completely and on the other, Tibetan culture is somewhat affected , but it is within limits, not like the damage caused by the US to the Indian culture. Do you think so?

    by: lincon from: east
    June 04, 2014 9:37 PM
    Dalai Lama, please do not say you are a buddist, what you do show you are just a politician. a real buddist who love the peace, people and the word will never tell a lie.

    by: Jaay from: London
    June 04, 2014 8:57 AM
    Very strange given that the rule of Lamas in Tibet prior to 1950 was perhaps the most un-democratic system on earth. In fact it was feudalism which by today's standards would be called slavery. It's ironic that the communist China forced Tibet to abolish such a horrific system.

    The fact is that today people in Tibet are more free to do what they like (including owning property, traveling, working for whatever they want including for themselves) than they have ever been under the reign of local lamas.

    Therefore it sounds very strange to hear this from Mr. Dalai who has NEVER been demoratically lected or even hadto work through his career (as he would have done in the Chinese CCP).
    In Response

    by: Wangchuk from: NY
    June 05, 2014 9:42 AM
    Thank you for your comments, comrade Jaay. The 50 Cent Party is alive & well on this forum. Please go to Lhasa and hold up a sign for human rights, democracy or freedom and then count the seconds it takes for the Chinese police to arrest you. If your Tibetan, they will torture you. If you're a foreigner, they will deport you.

    That's assuming you can get into Tibet. Many foreigners & journalists are denied entry to Tibetan areas. Tibetans face restrictions when traveling within Tibet and are always searched at police checkpoints while Han Chinese are ignored. There are thousands of cameras monitoring Tibetans. Tibet under the CCP is a police state where Tibetans are treated as second class citizens.

    By the way, the Tibetan-Govt-in-Exile does have a democratically-elected leader but Tibetans inside Tibetan don't have democracy or freedom.
    In Response

    by: Tsering from: Australia
    June 04, 2014 11:02 PM
    Time is changing, perhaps we Tibetans are also not being left behind, so as Chinese. As rulers come and go, Tibetans will have our own country again and hopefully it won't cause anything from both Tibetans and Chinese.
    In Response

    by: Jaay from: London
    June 04, 2014 12:38 PM
    I think I explained my point pretty well. I am not drawing any legal concepts from it but saying that it simply doesn't look very morally credible coming from a guy who is not elected and has nothing to do with democracy in any way.

    I would give much more credibility if such remarks would be coming from, say, Switzerland i.e. countries and societies which have an anctual track record of achievements in their political system.
    In Response

    by: Dean from: New York
    June 04, 2014 12:03 PM
    Obviously you missed the point. The point is you can have a democratic system and still have a non-democratically-elected (spiritual) leader like the kings and queens in countries like England, Japan, Spain, and others. The worst thing that China did to Tibet is the almost complete destruction of the Tibetan culture, which, by the way, is thousands of years old.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora