Dalai Lama on Xi Jinping, Self-Immolation, and Pot

In an interview with TIME’s Elizabeth Dias, the Dalai Lama gave some thoughts on Xi Jinping’s rule and international support for Tibet, and maintained his longstanding reticence on Tibetan self-immolation. He also discussed marijuana, Facebook and Twitter, climate change, and Pope Francis.

What would you say to a Tibetan protester who is on the verge of sacrificing himself through self-immolation?

Firstly, this is very, very sad. Human life is very, very precious. This is very, very sensitive political issue. Whatever I say the Chinese hardliners always manipulate. And then, I also retired [several years ago] from political responsibility. So the best thing is to keep quiet.

[…] What do you make of China’s new president, Xi Jinping?

He is courageously tackling corruption, quite effectively. Fearlessly. [But] real development must take place in rural areas. It is not a solution to build new, big cities. [Also] 1.3 billion Chinese people have every right to know reality … Censorship is an unrealistic method that actually develops distrust and suspicion. The Chinese judicial system must be lifted up to the international standard of judiciary systems. Then these 1 billion poor people can have some kind of protection. [Source]