China should see the Dalai Lama as "part of the solution" on Tibet instead of trying to isolate him, US President Barack Obama's top Asia adviser has said.
Jeff Bader, senior director for Asia on the White House's National Security Council, told the Committee of 100, a Chinese-American group, that it should use its influence in Beijing to encourage a different view of the Dalai Lama.
"I hope that you will use that credibility and those relationships to help persuade Chinese officials that the Dalai Lama is not part of their problem but rather part of the solution to the situation in Tibet," Bader said yesterday.
Beijing brands the Dalai Lama a separatist and has stepped up pressure on world leaders, including Obama, not to meet with him. The Buddhist leader fled to India 50 years ago as China crushed an abortive uprising in Tibet.
The Dalai Lama, an advocate of non-violence, says he is only seeking greater rights for Tibetans under Chinese rule. The Nobel Peace laureate is currently touring the United States, but he does not plan to visit Washington.
Bader acknowledged that human rights have become an irritant in US-China relations -- "unsurprisingly, because China's human rights record, as we know, is poor."
But he said Obama believed the most effective way to persuade China was to lead by example, citing the president's decision to shut down the widely condemned "war on terror" detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.