Restrictions on our language triggered Tibet protests: Dalai Lama


Dharamsala: China has imposed Mandarin as a medium of instruction in schools in Tibet, triggering demonstrations there, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said Saturday.

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“Tibetan language is a very rich language, which can go along with the ancient Sanskrit language. Chinese authority has imposed Chinese language as a medium of instruction in Tibetan schools which caused demonstrations,” the Nobel laureate told reporters in Japan, according to a post on the website of the Central Tibetan Administration.

“Politically, we are not seeking separation. Tibetan language, Buddhist philosophy, science and religion is very rich. We love our language and we are proud of our language,” he added.

The Dalai Lama reached Japan Saturday on a nine-day tour.

He also said that he always appreciated the contributions made by jailed Chinese dissident and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo in trying to bring openness, democracy and accountability in China.

“This is good for China in the long run. China has become strong, but to make a significant contribution in this world, it should gain the trust of its people and people around the world. Censorship is immoral, 1.3 billion Chinese people have the right to know.”

On being asked whether the institution of the Dalai Lama was needed anymore, he said the Tibetans-in-exile had already adopted democracy by forming a government.

“The four-century old tradition of the Dalai Lama, holding temporal and spiritual power, has come to an end in 2001, when the Tibetans-in-exile adopted democracy and elected their own political leader, Kalon Tripa (prime minister). Whether the Dalai Lama is needed or not will be decided by the Tibetan people. But at this age, I think I have a right to retire,” he said in his typical jovial style.

The Dalai Lama, 75, has been following a “middle-path” policy, seeking greater autonomy for Tibetans, rather than complete independence.

However, this has failed to pacify the Chinese leadership, who view him as a threat to their nation’s unity, and routinely expresses its displeasure over his meetings with foreign leaders.

The Dalai Lama and his supporters fled Tibet, and took refuge in India when Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa in 1959.