Dalai Lama chats with mainland Twitter users

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 May, 2010, 12:00am

Beijing should learn from former leader Hu Yaobang's fact-based work style to solve problems in Tibet and misunderstandings between Tibetans and Han Chinese, the Dalai Lama told an online chat with mainland Twitter users yesterday.

'The real reasons behind today's disputes between Han Chinese and Tibetans were not caused by the people, but the government,' the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said in a Twitter forum in Chinese moderated by Wang Lixiong, a mainland critic of China's Tibet and Xinjiang policies.

'It was because [the Beijing government] failed to implement Deng Xiaoping's fact-based approach, which Hu Yaobang once spared no efforts to put into effect.'

The Dalai Lama highlighted Premier Wen Jiabao's praise of Hu's style in a recent article in the People's Daily. 'Wen's article affirmed the practical work style of Hu, who refused to trust official reports, but sought truth by personal site observations,' the Dalai Lama said, referring to Beijing's propaganda campaigns about Tibet's history, including its feudal society before 1950 and great changes after 1959, when the Communist Party said it liberated it.

When responding to the two most-asked questions, about Tibet's future and the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, he said that he had prepared everything for his legacy, including setting up a democratically elected chief executive system for the Tibetan 'government in exile', with a five-year-term.

He said Beijing might choose its own Dalai Lama after his death, similar to way it had chosen its own Panchen Lama, but 'I don't think it would have any impact because the system of [the reincarnation] of the Dalai Lama will become less important in the future'.

When asked whether he would still insist on the withdrawal of the People's Liberation Army from Tibet, the Dalai Lama did not reply directly, saying: 'I have reiterated it very clearly, diplomatic and defensive issues in Tibet should still be taken care of by the central government.'

He said he was optimistic about Tibet's future because he believed Beijing and the exiled government would compromise in the coming years, based on mutual benefits.

It was the first time the Dalai Lama had interacted with a great number of Chinese on the mainland, whose knowledge of the Nobel Peace Prize winner is largely derived from the authorities' frequent condemnations of him as a separatist.

Nearly 300 questions were collected through Google Moderator, an internet tool that US President Barack Obama used to collect questions for town-hall meetings.