June 17, 2004
Confirming that a visit of the delegation was on the cards, Thubten Samphel, secretary, Department of Information and International Relations, said the modalities would be worked out only after getting the green light from Beijing.
“The issues of seeking full autonomy for the three Tibetan provinces tops the agenda so that we could protect and promote Tibetan cultural and religious heritage. With more and more people taking interest in Buddhism across the world, we should have the freedom to promote Buddhism,” he said. He said China today was going through a transitional phase where the young generation was caught between Marxism and emerging market forces. “So, they, too, are turning to Buddhism for peace of mind and to get rid of emotional restlessness,’’ he said.
During the past two years — in September, 2002, and May-June 2003 — the same envoys, Logi Gyari and Kesang Gyaltsen, visited China. Gyari is the Dalai Lama’s envoy in Washington. Earlier, he served as the Minister for Information and International Relations, Gyaltsen has been representing the Dalai Lama in the European Union.
“The government is looking forward to the visit and we expect that after the initial rounds of rebuilding contact, this time the talks will deal with all issues concerning the people of Tibet and something concrete will come out . We are also anticipating that the talks will be held at a higher level so that some decisions could be taken. But the exact date of the visit will be finalised only after getting some response from the Chinese Government,” said Mr Samphel.
Asked if the Chinese had expressed a wish to come to McLeodganj to see things for themselves, he said, “We have nothing to hide. We are functioning here in an absolutely transparent way out of our own country.” Mr Samphel said the institutions of the Dalai Lama would also undergo a change once their demands are met. “Instead of being the spiritual and temporal head, he will then be only the religious head so that the Tibetan democratic set-up can blossom,” he said.