Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Dalai Lama’s envoy visits DU

The Dalai Lama’s representative in negotiations with China told a gathering of students, faculty and visitors at DU on Friday that Tibetans are more focused on their language, way of life and religious institutions rather than a territory. Lodi Gyari, special envoy for the Dalai Lama, said people who believe it’s all about land don’t truly understand what’s important to his people.

Gyari participated in the Jackson/Ho China forum sponsored by the Center for China-U.S. Cooperation at DU’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

The center’s director, Suisheng “Sam” Zhao, invites speakers to campus throughout the academic year to address issues facing China and the U.S.

“Tibetans will not be satisfied with any kind of understanding short of Tibetans reclaiming their separate identity,” Gyari said. “Some people believe it’s all about territory, and it’s not.”

Gyari has been acting as the Dalai Lama’s special envoy in talks with the Chinese government for 26 years. Late in 2008, he presented another proposal to China’s leaders in an attempt to reach an agreement over the future of the Tibetan people.

The Chinese government has long held that Tibet is part of China, but Tibetans disagree. The 14th Dalai Lama leads his people through an exiled government based in India.

Gyari is hopeful an agreement will be reached one day partly because of what he calls subtle changes occurring in the Chinese government and Communist party.

“They could be fundamentally relevant to our negotiations even if there are no concrete changes in the government,” said Gyari. He explained that it’s important for Chinese leaders to understand that the Dalai Lama is the key to a successful agreement, not an obstacle to it.
While a solution to the long-running conflict is not expected any time soon, Gyari says it’s also not something easily forgotten.

“Tibet is the No. 1 issue for China domestically and internationally,” Gyari said.

Comments are closed.