Dalai Lama in Australia: China Not The Enemy

Speaking at the start of an 11 day visit to Australia, the Dalai Lama said that China as a whole is not his enemy. Beijing’s economic importance to the country, however, may deny him a meeting with its Prime Minister.

When asked if China was the enemy, the Tibetan spiritual leader demurred.

“Not China. Some hard-liner Communists. They really brought a lot of suffering,” he said.

But the Nobel peace laureate said the solution was not to hate them back ….

He said he tries to take “their anger, their jealously, their suspicion … then give them, through visualization, give them compassion, forgiveness…. That kind of practice (doesn’t) help to solve the problem, but that practice is immense help to maintain my peace of mind ….”

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has not said yet if she will meet with the Dalai Lama. Previous prime ministers have held unofficial meetings with the spiritual leader, but even those low-key talks have irked China, which is Australia’s most important trading partner.

TIME asks whether Australia’s economy is becoming dangerously dependent on China:

Chinese demand for Australian exports, especially raw materials, was one big reason Australia didn’t fall into recession after the 2008 financial crisis. Since China will get even hungrier for natural resources as its economy roars ahead, Australia is likely to become more and more dependent on the Middle Kingdom. Ben Hunt, an economist at the International Monetary Fund, estimates that roughly 12% of Australia’s GDP growth during the past 10 years can be attributed to trade with China; over the next decade, that share could reach 35%. Colin Barnett, premier of Western Australia, Port Hedland’s home state, says China has been “probably the single biggest factor” behind the region’s strong performance during the Great Recession. “China’s almost insatiable demand for natural resources continues to drive our economy,” he says.

“Australia’s economy is becoming frightfully dependent on the function of Chinese policymaking,” says Scott Ludlam, a senator from Western Australia from the opposition Greens party. “We’re setting ourselves up for vulnerability.”