Video: Protests in Seattle Over Dalai Lama

Hundreds of pro-China demonstrators gathered Monday outside the University of Washington to protest the visiting Dalai Lama, who was speaking about solving problems through dialogue.

From The Associated Press:

Thousands of people have flocked to Seattle to hear the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader speak since he arrived Thursday for a five-day conference on compassion, but the city’s Chinese community had remained largely silent until Monday.

Demonstrators held signs alleging media bias and protesting the violence from rioting by Tibetan monks. Some echoed Beijing’s stand that the Dalai Lama is behind the recent uprising against five decades of Chinese rule. Signs called the Dalai Lama a liar and a “CIA-funded militant.” Many people waved large Chinese flags.

“I think that people are misinformed. They have media discrimination,” demonstrator Jiange Li said. “Tibet was freed — 50 years ago.”

From The Seattle Times:

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The entire event is troubling, says Seattle Post Intelligencer columnist Robert L. Jamieson Jr.:

The university was proud to have the Dalai Lama — with a stipulation: No touchy questions from the audience, please….The UW was so concerned that the convocation for him would stray from safe topics such as compassion and become politically charged that it took a page from old communist bosses.

Clashing ideas, if respectfully presented, should find a welcome forum at an American university. That the UW would go through the shenanigans of placating a student group and picking safe questions for the once-in-a-lifetime event counters this open spirit of academia. As it turns out, the student questions Monday seemed somewhat repetitive, soft.

Before welcoming the Dalai Lama, the UW ought to have recalled a Chinese maxim: “Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend.”

April 15, 2008 7:34 AM
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Categories: Politics