Tibetan Flag, “under the Foot”

Dalai Lama: Study English and go out

Dalai Lama: Study English and go out

In a Q & A session at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on Saturday, the Dalai Lama advised young Japanese people to improve their lives by going into the “outside world” where they could make “many contributions”.  “Whether you like it or not, English is the universal language. Study English and go out.”

Tibet’s spiritual leader had arrived in Japan on Thursday to speak at sold-out crowds, but got a cold shoulder from the government, which was trying to improve relations with China, writes AFP. The Japanese authorities, different from previous visits by the Dalai Lama, offered no security. AFP quotes Yukiyasu Osada, a 42-year old writer who has written travel books on Tibet for nearly two decades as saying that “Japanese have little interest in the Tibetan issue. The Dalai Lama, yes. People are attracted to his spirituality. They look for an answer at a time”.

Meantime, New Zealand’s government is also working hard to improve relations with Beijing. Prime Minister John Key apologized to a Chinese delegation lead by vice state chairman Xi Jinping (习近平) after the country’s Green Party’s co-leader Russel Norman had waved a Tibetan flag on the arrival of Xi and his delegation outside Parliament building on Friday. Chinese delegation members reportedly used umbrellas to screen their leader from the troublesome view (or to screen Norman from the delegation). Prime minister Key defended his apology and told the New Zealand Press Association (NZPA) that the issue had nothing to do with freedom of speech. “The apology was in relation to our failure to provide proper security for the vice-president when he entered and exited Parliament”, he said. “I think it’s unacceptable that a dignatory of that level can’t enter the building without their integrity being compromised”.

Norman wrote on his blog on Sunday that Chinese government staff grabbed the Tibetan flag from his hands.

I looked for it on the ground and found it under the foot of one of the Chinese Govt personnel. I lent down to pull the flag out from under the foot of the Chinese Govt security person. As I did so they stood on my hand but I managed to get it out from under their foot and hold it back up again. […]

I understand that the security operation in front of parliament was a NZ Police operation. But they certainly weren’t in control of it, the Chinese Government guards were.

The issue of Chinese security staff overstepping their jurisdiction was also raised during the Olympic Torch ralleye in Europe, in spring 2008. The Daily Mail wrote in April 2008 that then prime minister

Gordon Brown and his Cabinet colleague Tessa Jowell agreed to receive the torch in Downing Street while being shepherded by a phalanx of Chinese attendants wearing blue and white tracksuits.

It later emerged that these goons came from the paramilitary wing of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army – the same force that has played such a brutal role in the suppression of recent protests in Tibet.

The Daily Mail also pointed out that Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd had insisted that Australian rather than Chinese security would take care of the flame when the relay reached Sydney.

The Dalai Lama’s last visit to New Zealand was in December 2009. In March or April 2009, the New Zealand Chinese Association had told the government to “follow the lead of South Africa” which had refused the Dalai Lama a visa in February. Prime minister Key replied that New Zealand was a free and independent nation that can invite whomever it likes, but chose not to meet the visitor himself, Labour Party leader Phil Goff reportedly held talks with the Dalai Lama during the visit in December.

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Related
Tibet: “America’s Consistent Policy”, March 26, 2010
British PM writes to Chinese PM, February 10, 2009

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