dalai lama in DC

Posted on October 16, 2007


It’s time China grew up and loosened up on Tibet and the Dalai Lama.

The Chinese are again screaming and crying like bratty toddlers at the latest prospects of the Dalai Lama receiving a Congressional Gold Medal in the US on Wednesday, for his years of struggle against the Chinese.

For all its ambitions to be a global player, the Chinese do not display much finesses and still have a long way to go in the international diplomatic arena, if they want to be taken seriously as more than just an economic superpower.

China proved its immaturity at condemning the Dalai Lama’s pending receipt of the award in Washington DC, which would also involve a meeting with the US President George W. Bush.

Kudos to Congress and Bush for sticking to their guns to go ahead with the ceremony, even though they are downplaying it and trying to keep it a low-key ceremony.

Tibet was robbed by the Chinese and the issue is no way an “internal” affair, as China likes to claim.

It had reacted petulantly recently, by reneging on its participation with other partners in talks about Iran’s nuclear issue, merely offering a flimsy excuse for its withdrawal from the talks as a “technical” issue.

China also recently snubbed Germany by pulling out of a human rights dialogue, after its chancellor Angela Merkel held talks with the Dalai Lama.

Amidst all these actions, it is hard for China to truly be regarded as a top-tier international player. Its economic sway may be what’s getting it to the table with the big boys but if it persists in its childish and irrational behavior, it would be hard for it to take on the type of leadership role in Asia as it hopes to do, let alone in the world. Countries would always be wary of a power that mercurial.

China’s behavior would only add to the fervor and dedication supporters of the Dalai Lama and freeing Tibet already have. In this episode, China’s hysterics and tantrums end up making it look like a petty player. It has also failed to comprehend that making so much noise would only play up the importance of the whole thing, and give the impression that they do really have something to hide or fear, while bringing to the fore the human rights abuses that they have been carrying out on Tibet and its people.

The Dalai Lama’s behavior and demeanor, in contrast, will only endear him to more and win more admirers. Asked in Washington about the Chinese government’s protest at his award and meeting with Bush, the Dalai Lama displayed his formidable diplomatic skills by laughing it off and telling reporters that “That always happens.”