German Media Prize for Dalai Lama

It’s a hand-shaped, painted pottery piece on a blue Brazilian marmoreal foot. Launched by Media Control in 1992, the German Media Prize went to Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi in 2007, to Spain’s king Juan Carlos I. in 2006, and to U2’s Bono in 2005. The shape and colors of the piece itself change every year. This year, the Dalai Lama receives the prize.

Kelsang Gyaltsen, the Dalai Lama’s representative in Europe, believes that it is too early to assess how the unrests in Tibet of March 2008 have influenced Beijing’s Tibet policy. In an interview with the Voice of Germany, he describes the international participation in the Beijing Olympic Games as a great concession to the Chinese people and the Chinese [people] [correction: government], and said that the same was true for the attendance of many international dignitaries at the opening ceremony. The international community had thus emphasized that it wasn’t hostile towards China, and that China now owed the world more respect for human rights in China, and a contribution to an amicable resolution of the Tibet problem.

On a question about the cancelled EU-China summit in December after a meeting between French president Nicolas Sarkozy and the Dalai Lama, Gyaltsen argued that relations between the United States and China hadn’t been bad during George W. Bush‘s presidency, even though president Bush didn’t only meet the Dalai Lama frequently, but that the Dalai Lama had also been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

[Translation from German] This didn’t affect the good relations between the U.S. and China. […..] We believe that the Chinese government knows this: If we make a great hullabaloo and exert a sufficient amount of pressure, we can influence the Europeans. That is their calculus. We Tibetans aren’t against good relations between Europe and China. But we believe that one must keep to ones values and principles. Issues like human rights or the Tibet question must not be sacrificed for good relations. That would be mere appeasement.

Gyaltsen also suggested that the EU and Germany could help to bring the Tibetan and Chinese sides together for genuine talks.

Meantime, China’s human rights achievements were highlighted at UN Review (the UN Human Rights Council), says a People’s Daily headline. The highlighter was Li Baodong, China’s ambassador to the UN Office in Geneva.

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