December 8, 2008
Below is an article published by AFP:
The Dalai Lama said Friday [5 December 2008] the issue of Tibet could be resolved quickly if China fully embraces democracy, as he arrived in Poland as part of a European tour that has angered Beijing.
"When China becomes more democratic, with freedom of speech, with rule of law and particularly with freedom of the press ... once China becomes an open, modern society, then the Tibet issue, I think within a few days, can be solved," the Dalai Lama said.
Addressing the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday [4 December 2008], the Dalai Lama had said China lacked the moral authority to be a true superpower.
He arrived in Poland Friday [5 December 2008], and [met] with visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Saturday [6 December 2008], a move which has sparked outrage in China. France currently holds the EU's rotating presidency.
Asked whether EU-China relations and trade could suffer over his planned meeting with Sarkozy in Gdansk, the Dalai Lama said "China also needs Europe."
China warned on Thursday [4 december 2008] that multi-billion-dollar trade ties with France could be affected by Sarkozy's planned meeting with the Dalai Lama.
Beijing also cancelled an EU-China summit that was set for early this week.
The Buddhist leader and other Nobel Peace Prize laureates were invited to this Baltic port city to mark the 25th anniversary of the day the award went to Poland's Lech Walesa for leading the Solidarity movement in a peaceful struggle against the then communist regime.
"If I were in the country of his Holiness, I would fight there too," Walesa told a youth forum Friday [5 December 2008] , speaking in debates alongside the Dalai Lama.
"How would I lead to victory? I can't say this publicly... Really there is a chance... There is no situation where there is no chance, you just have to choose your means and your strength and time to reshape the political scene at the right time," said Walesa.
The former union leader is regarded as a key figure in the peaceful collapse of communism in Poland in 1989.
"I will try to say how I would fight but not publicly, in private," he added. "I wish the Tibetan nation freedom," said Walesa who was also president after the fall of communism.
The Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India, has sought "meaningful autonomy" for Tibet since he fled his homeland following a failed uprising in 1959 against Chinese rule, nine years after Chinese troops invaded the region.
China claims he actually seeks full independence.
"The Chinese government always accuses us of (being) separatist, this is totally baseless!" the Dalai Lama said later Friday [5 December 2008] in Gdansk.
He said "we are willing to remain within the People's Republic of China provided that we have our own culture including our own language and spirituality...our rich compassionate, non-violent culture."
The spiritual leader also criticised those in China who he sees as leading materialistic lives.
"China is full of corruption," the Dali Lama said. "In fact Tibetan cultural heritage can help immensely to give some Chinese who lost the meaning of life, the purpose of life -- their only concern money, money, money."
"The best way to counter corruption is self discipline, so therefore Tibetan cultural heritage certainly can help immensely many Chinese -- already I think a few hundred thousand Chinese -- I think nearly a million already following Tibetan Buddhism," he said.