Dalai Lama Visit Concerns Chinese Students

As the beleaguered Olympic flame departs the US West Coast, the Dalai Lama arrives–and young Chinese are none to happy about it. From the Seattle Post Intelligencer’s School Zone blog:

Chinese students at the University of Washington have been promised that an impending campus visit by the Dalai Lama will not have a political agenda.

In fact, students won’t be asking the Tibetan spiritual leader about recent political unrest in his homeland at all.

According to an open letter posted on the Chinese Students and Scholars Association of UW, that news served to allay fears that the Buddhist teacher’s visit to Seattle would cause “anti-China” sentiment.

The Dalai Lama will spend five days in Seattle starting Friday. On Monday, he will receive an honorary degree from the UW, then talk about the importance of compassion and answer questions from students.

Here is a paragraph of the open letter from Chinese students in UW:

“As Chinese citizens, we want to reaffirm that Tibet was, is and will always be part of the People’s Republic of China,” the letter read. “We are against any kind of violence. We believe that every country in the world should show respect to the others’ own domestic issues. Therefore, we hope the University of Washington will make sure that Dalai Lama’s upcoming visit has no political agenda, and that his speech will be focused on non-political issues only.”

This news also generated many online commentaries from seattlepi readers, starting from this one:

Posted by RationalThought at 4/9/08 7:09 p.m.

If Chinese people don’t want the actions of their government to reflect poorly upon them, perhaps they should speak out more loudly for reforms – particularly in the area of human rights – in their home country.

I’m all for them getting a first-hand lesson in what exactly our First Amendment means in this country – and if that means they have to hear unpleasant facts about their homeland, sobeit.

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