Dharamshala: On Tuesday, 12 July, Radio Free Asia spoke with the spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Washington, DC, USA. In an interview with RFA's Mandarin service, His Holiness expressed hope that the Chinese government would continue to change, and spoke about the importance of non-violence, democracy, and education.
In the past 60 years, His Holiness said he has witnessed much transformation in the government in China. While the "same communist party, same constitution, same system since Mao's government" exist, the "reality [has] much changed."
His Holiness said that now, the Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabo has even expressed publicly that political reform was needed in China. Year by year, according to His Holiness , the voice of democracy, rule of law, and free information were increasing in China.
Speaking about his principal of non-violence, he acknowledged that many young Tibetans criticised his peaceful approach. While he stated that such criticism was understandable, he talked about the importance of having patience. "They want to achieve their goal immediately," he said.
He also claimed that because of the non-violent principle, a large number of Chinese, especially intellectuals, fully support, understand, and have expressed solidarity with the Tibet cause. "I think [Tibetan] young people should know that," His Holiness said.
When asked directly to respond to criticisms of the Middle Way Approach, the philosophy of resolving differences with China through dialogue, His Holiness, laughing a little, answered, "I think this question, you should ask our elected political leadership. I already retired!"
He said that in favor of democracy, he had "deliberately, proudly, and voluntarily ended" four centuries of tradition in which Dalai Lamas have been both spiritual and temporal leaders of the Tibetan people.
"I believe that the country belongs to the people. Not a party. Not a few leaders. Not a king or queen. Not a spiritual leader. The country belongs to the people."
His Holiness also praised Radio Free Asia for their efforts to educate those who were in "closed societies" through free press.
People's thinking is changed through better education, information, economic conditions, facilities, and modern technology, according to His Holiness. "Keep hope. Things will change," he advised.