Given the difference in the American and Chinese societies, it is certainly understandable for some Chinese students to have “conflicted feelings” not just on Tibet and the Dalai Lama, but on many other issues. The greatness of democracy is, however, giving the alternative point of view consideration even if one does not agree with it.
Therefore, it was disconcerting to see the news report called “Dalai Lama visit troubles some Chinese students,” written by Meredith Newman and published on Sept.18. Not because of the two Chinese students’ regurgitation of China’s political claim over Tibet, but because these students do not show any evidence of availing themselves of the opportunity of access to alternative information in the United States about Tibet and the Dalai Lama.
The international recognition that the Dalai Lama has received, including in this country, is because of his liberal outlook, steadfast devotion to peace and non violence, promotion of religious harmony and his belief that dialogue is the only way to resolve conflicts at all levels. I believe these are also the reasons why Syracuse University has invited the Dalai Lama to share his thoughts with the students.
It is a reality the Tibetan problem is something about which Chinese and Tibetans, particularly those living in the free world, might not be able to agree. However, I believe these Chinese students owe it to the future of China, if not anything else, to make an attempt to understand the other side of the issue, instead of resorting to baseless name calling. A new China will not benefit in any way from those who refuse to open their minds to different points of view. For example, by terming the Dalai Lama as a “contemptible scoundrel,” the Chinese student is only demeaning herself.
May I therefore suggest to all the Chinese students at Syracuse University to attend the events where the Dalai Lama will be present so they can understand his thinking and have a different perspective of him, instead of merely following the Chinese government’s official propaganda.
Bhuchung K. Tsering
International Campaign for Tibet