Hitting out at the “totalitarian” government in China for “immoral” curbs on free speech and the press, the Dalai Lama on Wednesday said people of the Communist nation will be able to tell right from wrong once they are aware of the “reality”.
The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, however, batted for closer Sino-India ties at the people-to-people level and went on to invoke the spirit of “Hindi-Cheeni, Bhai-bhai”.
Asked about the perception of growing intolerance in India, he said a few individuals and politicians do not represent the entire population of the country and that India was the “most stable” country in the region.
He also advised against associating Islam with terrorism and stressed on the need to reach out even to the hardline elements.
Speaking at an event organised by the Vivekananda International Foundation here, he reaffirmed that Tibet was not seeking independence from China but freedom mainly in the sphere of culture and language.
“The (Chinese) government is unfortunately totalitarian ...no freedom of speech, freedom of religion. Once Chinese people know the reality they will able to judge what is wrong and what is right. Censorship is immoral,” he said.
Acknowledging that things were “changing” in China, he said the country should must open up in its own interest. Power of truth was stronger than the power of gun, he said, alluding to allegations of Chinese repression in Tibet.
“India should invite (from China) people from areas such as medicine and education...in areas where it has an advantage,” the Dalai Lama said, stressing on the need for enhanced people to people contact.
Responding to a question on radical Islam, he said the very term “Muslim terrorist” was wrong and anyone practising Islam and indulging in terror ceases to be a genuine Muslim.
“Some Muslim countries are isolated, without any contact with the outside world. There comes the concept of one religion and one truth,” he said, stressing on the need to reach out to even hardline elements of Islam.
He said the use of force by the United States post September 11, 2001 attacks “hardened” many. Reaching out to Osama Bin Laden would have made the west safer, he said.
The Dalai Lama said secularism and non-violence, the highlights of the ancient Indian tradition, were “very relevant” in contemporary times, and lauded the country’s religious harmony.
“Occasional trouble are understandabale. But India is the only country in the world where all the major religious traditions are present,” he said.
The Dalai Lama, who has made India his home after fleeing Tibet in 1959, also praised India’s tradition of respecting all religions as well as non-believers as part of its secular values.