January 25, 2009
   Posted in News Flash
Published By Tashi
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s message to the Chinese people on the occasion of the Chinese New Year

On
the occasion of the Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival, I extend
my affectionate greetings to all our Chinese brothers and sisters
across the globe, including those living in Mainland China. The
past year witnessed many developments throughout the world and
particularly in China, at times worrying us while at other times
filling our hearts with happiness. Besides having to bear the brunt of
natural disasters and other problems that hit the country, China also
had the proud moments like hosting the world’s greatest sporting event,
the Olympic Games. The year that ended is, therefore, marked with great
changes taking place everywhere. These days, due to the global
economic meltdown, the people of the world in general, and of the
developing countries in particular, are plunged into an abyss of
anxiety and suffering. To pray for the end of all sufferings of
humanity, as well as for their happiness and well-being, is a
responsibility that rests on all believers. Besides having a
long history of over 5000 years and a splendidly rich cultural
heritage, China is also the most populous nation in the world.
Moreover, it is emerging as a super power in terms of political,
economic and military might. However, China cannot perform the
responsibility of a super power in this modern and progressive world if
there is no freedom, rule of law and transparency in the country.President
Hu Jintao’s policy of creating a harmonious society is indeed laudable.
Such a policy is indispensable for China as well, if it were to make a
mark globally. Harmonious society should, however, come about through
mutual trust, friendship and justice. It cannot be brought about by
brute force and autocracy.Not only should the Chinese citizens
have economic facilities, but they should also enjoy the freedom of
conscience, education and to know what is actually happening around the
world. These freedoms are indispensable for human societies. If – in
this fast-changing modern world – one does not keep abreast of the
daily happenings around the globe, then it goes without saying that one
will be naturally left behind. In China today, popular news outlets
such as television, radio and Internet – including the international
news services like the BBC and CNN are blocked – thus preventing its
people from knowing the true information about the world’s events. I am
immensely disappointed by such negative actions of the Chinese
government, which greatly hamper the fundamental rights as well as the
short and long-term benefits of the Chinese people.The 21st
century is regarded as a century of information revolution. And yet
some countries of the world, which includes China, impose restrictions
on the free flow of information. Such actions are anachronistic and
hence there is no way that these can be sustained in the long run.
Therefore, I believe that China too will soon become more liberal in
terms of disseminating and sharing information.Last year, many
Chinese intellectuals came out with a number of articles and other
campaign activities, calling for freedom, democracy, justice, equality
and human rights in China. Particularly in a recent development, we saw
an increasing number of people from all walks of life signing up to an
important document called the Charter ’08. This is indicative of the
fact that the Chinese people, including the intellectuals, are
beginning to demonstrate their deep yearnings for more openness and
freedom in their country. It is, therefore, a matter for all of us to
take pride in.While once again extending my warm greetings to
the Chinese people, I hope and pray that in the coming year the
People’s Republic of China will be able to create a meaningful
harmonious society by ensuring equality, justice and friendship among
all its nationalities.     The Dalai Lama25 January 2009Note: translated from the Tibetan original

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