CHENNAI, India, 27 November 2016
The Dalai Lama’s recent visit to Mongolia was followed by a bitter outburst from China, demanding that “Mongolia not allow the visit by the Dalai Lama and do not promote any facilitation for the separatist activities by the Dalai clique.”
Mongolia is heavily dependent on trade with China, and does not have economic and military might to face any confrontation with China. So the government of Mongolia has shown rare courage in allowing the visit of the Dalai Lama, knowing that China would vehemently criticize and oppose this action. Though Mongolia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs had said that the Dalai Lama’s visit has no connection to the government, it is very clear that the government of Mongolia has defied the dictates of China for the sake of a cause.
The action of the Mongolian government is in sharp contrast to those of a few other countries like Sri Lanka and USA.
Even though it has a large Buddhist population, the Sri Lankan government refused visa to the Dalai Lama and denied opportunity to Buddhist citizens of Sri Lanka to receive and honour him. The Sri Lankan government took this unprincipled stand fearing opposition from China.
US President Obama, fearing criticism from China, received the Dalai Lama through the back door of the White House. By this ill-advised move, President Obama, who had received the Nobel prize for peace, humiliated himself, affecting his reputation and making people think that he is a person who does not have the courage of his convictions. Further, the claim of the USA that it is a champion of freedom and liberty was blown to pieces by this single act, and many people thought it amounted to belittling the Dalai Lama, the venerable leader of the Buddhist community.
Certainly, the world conscience remains disturbed due to China’s aggression in occupying Tibet forcibly and suppressing protest in Tibet violently. Even after several decades of China’s occupation of Tibet, large sections of people around the world are demanding that Tibet should be liberated. China clearly knows this and this is why it is demanding that no country should entertain the Dalai Lama.
This bold action by Mongolia in receiving the Dalai Lama is bound to set a trend in coming days, with more countries emboldened to encourage the visit of the Dalai Lama.
The fact that hundreds of monks and worshippers in Mongolia waited for several hours in biting cold temperatures for a glimpse of 81-year-old Dalai Lama reflects the desires and aspirations of Buddhists around the world. It should give greater confidence to Tibetans everywhere as well as freedom lovers to continue the struggle for the liberation of Tibet with redoubled vigour.
With Donald Trump becoming the President of USA, Tibetans all over the world and freedom activists should appeal to him to make his stand very clear towards the cause of freedom of Tibet.
In his pre-election campaign, Donald Trump has shown that he can think out of the box and reverse the policies of the US government on many matters. There is no doubt that US has been following the policy of appeasing China regarding the Tibetan issue.
Tibetans should use this opening given by Mongolia of receiving the Dalai Lama, and inject more dynamism and impetus to the campaign for freedom of Tibet.
Tibetans should appeal to Donald Trump to receive the Dalai Lama through the front door rather than the back door, clearly sending a signal to China that the cause of Tibet is dear to the USA.
About the author
NS Venkataraman is a chemical engineer as well as a social activist in Chennai, India. He is the founder trustee of Nandini Voice For The Deprived, a Chennai-based not-for-profit organisation serving the cause of the deprived and down-trodden and working for probity in public life.
More articles by NS Venkataraman on Tibet Sun.