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HH-dalai-lama-2013Dharamshala: - The spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama recently said that the newly-elected Chinese President Xi Jinping represents a positive change in China, hoping for a new era of reconciliation and peace with Beijing and its new leadership.

After a 3-day Buddhist teachings for the Tibetans in Salugara, His Holiness Friday was surrounded by members of the press clamoring with questions. Asked what he expects from Xi Jinping, the new president of China, His Holiness responded that it is still early and difficult to say, but he acknowledged that he knew Xi's father.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate said there have been many changes in China since the Mao era and he is optimistic that further change will come, but It may not happen immediately.

His Holiness said that "we can carefully view the last 60 years in China in four phases: the ideological period of Mao; the economic developments of Deng Xiaoping; the welcoming of the wealthy into the party under Jiang Zemin; and Hu Jintao's slogan about harmony and unity. There has been change, he said, and further change will come, but it may not happen soon."

"This change is for the Chinese interest only. With a1.3 billion population, the most populated nation, an economic power and also it is growing," His Holiness said.

"The last 10 years, there has been much change. And also, you see, Chinese conduct with outside world also has increased because of economic power. So, therefore the new reality, year by year, some new reality is coming," the Tibetan spiritual leader said.

"So, the leadership has to act according to new reality. So, therefore I think overall I am optimistic. Things are changing. China can take a significant constructive role in dealing with the global affairs," His Holiness told reporters.

"So, I think China can take significant constructive role on the planet. So in order to carry the constructive role more effectively, trust and respect from the rest of the world is very, very essential. For that reason, transparency is very, very crucial factor. Closed society is very harmful," the spirtual leader added.

His comment on the changes in China came after he addressed Tibetans in Salugara about the devolution of his political responsibilities to the elected Tibetan leadership and efforts to resolve the issue of Tibet.

His Holiness explained that it is now almost two years since he devolved his political responsibilities to the elected Tibetan leadership. Not only has he himself retired, but he has also brought an end to the involvement of the Dalai Lamas in the political affairs of Tibet, a role that began with the Fifth Dalai Lama nearly four hundred years ago.

However, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate said, he remains a Tibetan in whom the Tibetan people continue to place their faith and trust, so he retains a responsibility to speak up for them when he can.

The Tibetan spiritual leader declared that the Middle Way approach that was first mooted in the 1970s continues to attract support, particularly among intellectuals and writers in China. He affirmed that Tibet enjoyed widespread independence in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries, so Tibetans have a right and a precedent to claim independence.

"However, it is also necessary to be realistic and the Middle Way approach has strong support as a realistic option. The Chinese leadership apart, many people around the world support it and, most important, it is attracting the support of Chinese people who come to know about it. He concluded with a forthright declaration that he is optimistic that Tibetans will yet be united in Tibet," said His Holiness.

His Holiness was in Salugara to give a three-day teaching on Longchen Rabjam's 'Resting the Mind in its Natural State' and Je Tsongkhapa's 'Concise Stages of the Path to Enlightenment.' An estimated 25,000 people gathered from Salugara, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Sikkim and Bhutan to hear His Holiness.

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