His Holiness the Dalai Lama Welcomed Again in Scottish Capital
Saturday, 19 November 2005, 11:45
Edinburgh: His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived here yesterday morning in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh from the United States and was received and welcomed at the airport by the city’s civic head, Lord Provost Lesley Hinds, Edinburgh Inter-Faith Association Secretary-General Victor Spence and His Holiness’ representative Mrs. Kesang Y. Takla, who heads the London-based Office of Tibet.
Later in the afternoon, after granting an audience to South Africa’s Member of Parliament and former home minister, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, His Holiness addressed a media meeting to answer a series of questions ranging from the Tibet issue to the issues of multi-culturalism and inter-religious harmony.
His Holiness was invited as the guest of honor to address today’s closing session of Fourth World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet in Edinburgh.
At the meeting with the media held in a hall at Dynamic Earth, an important tourist attraction near the Scottish Parliament, His Holiness was joined by Mr. Chris Ballance, Convener of the Scottish Cross Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet, Mr. Harry Cohen, Chairman of the UK All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet, Mrs. Lesley Hinds, Edinburgh’s Chief Executive, Mr. Victor Spence, Edinburgh Inter-Faith Association’s Secretary-General and Mrs. Kesang Y. Takla, Representative for His Holiness in UK.
Addressing the issue on Sino-Tibetan dialogue, His Holiness told the media gathering arranged by the Edinburgh Inter-Faith Association and the Edinburgh City Council that although there have been four rounds of talks between the Tibetan and Chinese representatives, the situation inside Tibet has not improved.
“Although the meetings have been held in a friendly and cordial atmosphere, unfortunately there is no sign of leniency in Tibet. The main purpose of talking with China is for the welfare of the Tibetans inside Tibet and the preservation of the Tibetan culture,” His Holiness said.
He also said that besides the Tibet issue, he is fully committed to his other two commitments, namely, promotion of human values and inter-religious harmony in the world.
On the question relating to closer relations between the United States and Britain with China, His Holiness said that since the last many years he has supported the view that China should not be isolated but instead should be encouraged to respect rule of law and the freedom of press and speech.
“China’s friends like the United States and Britain should take a firm stand on human rights, rule of law and religious freedom that is in China’s own interest,” His Holiness said.
The Tibetan Nobel Peace Laureate noted that the American President George Bush, whom he met a few days back in Washington D.C., and is now touring Asia has spoken about the need for democracy in China.
Newspapers reported yesterday that President Bush endorsed the ‘legitimate demands’ of China’s 1.3 billion citizens for ‘freedom and openness’ and that he warned that, whether the country’s leadership liked it or not, change would come.
“Men and women who are allowed to control their own wealth will eventually insist on controlling their own lives and future as well,” newspapers quoted the American President as saying, added that he also urged China to “permit full freedom of religion.”
Answering a question on multi-culturalism, His Holiness said that respecting each other’s cultures and religion would ensure inter-religious harmony and understanding among people from different religious and cultural backgrounds.
He said that no one has the right to judge which aspect of a particular culture or religion is right or wrong.
Welcoming His Holiness again to Edinburgh, the Lord Provost said that she look forward to His Holiness’ sold out public talk today at the Usher Hall in downtown Edinburgh. She said in the Scottish capital that they are trying to promote and encourage multi-culturalism and hoped that His Holiness’ positive message will be carried across well and benefit the people as during and after last visit in June 2004.
In his brief introductory remark, the Scottish Member of Parliament, Chris Ballance, said that he and his group were delighted to co-host the Fourth WPCT that he said is going well. He said they attach great importance to this Tibet convention and that he was optimistic about its outcome.
Member of Parliament, Harry Cohen, who is from the ruling Labour Party said “His Holiness is a man of immense wisdom” and that he finds His Holiness’ push for democracy within the Tibetan exile community is extremely remarkable.
The British parliamentarian said that His Holiness is “one of the great leaders of our time”, and in this age of fight against terrorism, the non-violent path lead by His Holiness should be rewarded. Noting that it requires two hands to clap, he urged the Chinese President Hu Jintao to meet with His Holiness to resolve the Tibet issue.
His Holiness’ meeting with the press was attended by more than 30 TV, radio, news agency and newspaper representatives, that also included a Chinese journalist, who too was given the opportunity to ask a question.
In the evening of yesterday, His Holiness attended a major education conference at the Edinburgh University where he gave the keynote address on ‘Cultivating warm-heartedness’. The theme of the education conference was ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œLeading the Way on Positive Education’ and His Holiness’ presence ensured a packed hall participation of teachers and educationists from different parts of Scotland and UK.
His Holiness’ programme for today includes a public talk on ‘Ethics for the New Millennium’, a visit to the Scottish Parliament at the invitation of the Scottish Cross Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet and addressing the Fourth WPCT.
Tomorrow morning, His Holiness and entourage members will leave for Belfast in Northern Ireland, where His Holiness for three days will be taking part in some peace programmes and meet with civic, religious and political leaders to share experiences and continue with his desire to contribute to the fragile peace processes there.
(www.tibet.net is the official website of the Central Tibetan Administration.)