The Telegraph (Calcutta): Dalai in Culture Sermon to China

November 29, 2004

A November 24, 2004, story in The Telegraph, based in Calcutta, features comments made by the Dalai Lama on November 21 during an opening ceremony for a Tibetan school in northern India. According to the report, the Dalai Lama called for China to accept Tibetan cultural identity. “Tibet has its own historic background which cannot be erased. China is repeating that Tibet has no cultural identity. Now, the time has come when China should change its psyche about Tibetans.” According to The Telegraph, the Tibetan government-in-exile has disclosed that the Dalai Lama’s envoys sought permission for the Dalai Lama to visit China and a part of Tibet during their visit to China last September. Citing sources in the Tibetan government-in-exile, the paper reports that the request was turned down.

The Telegraph article also reports that a source in the exiled Tibetan government said that China “is keen to give conditional access to the Dalai Lama, with the string attached that first he should accept in principle that Tibet and Taiwan are inseparable parts of China.” Since that is China’s standard pre-condition, it is unclear what request was rebuffed by China. The Telegraph based discussion of a potential visit to China by the Dalai Lama on remarks he made during a visit to South Africa earlier in the month (November 2004). According to a November 4 report datelined Johannesburg in the Mail & Guardian, the Dalai Lama emphasized that he is not seeking independence and expressed frustration that Chinese officials persist in portraying him as doing so. “Now, I think, one other important thing is I'm not seeking independence,” he said, adding that he has made “this statement [a] thousand times ... and the world knows that Dalai Lama is not a separatist, but the Chinese government and Chinese media still call me as a separatist.” His comments underscored the urgency of his wish to visit China, including the Tibetan area of China. “Now, still I have a keen desire to visit my own place and China, especially now -- 2004 means exactly 50 years past since my first visit to China that was 1954/55.”