Monday 19 August 2019

Dalai Lama praises New Zealand’s PM for response to Christchurch mosque attacks

The Tibetan spiritual leader also said he was not seeking independence for his homeland but wanted a ‘reunion’ with China.

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama (Manish Swarup/AP)
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama (Manish Swarup/AP)

By Ashok Sharma, Associated Press

The Dalai Lama has praised New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern for her compassionate handling of a recent attack on two mosques by a gunman that left 50 Muslim worshippers dead in Christchurch.

The Tibetan spiritual leader said others could learn from her.

“I really admire the New Zealand prime minister. She is wonderful,” he told reporters in the Indian capital, New Delhi, where he addressed a conference of educators and students.

She (Jacinda Ardern) really tried to tackle this problem through nonviolence, through compassion and through mutual respect Dalai Lama

He said the killing of worshippers in New Zealand was an example of what hatred can do to people.

“She really tried to tackle this problem through nonviolence, through compassion and through mutual respect.

“I really admire her. I think that’s one living example.”

The Dalai Lama also answered question related to Tibet’s future with China.

He reiterated that he is not seeking independence for Tibet, but would prefer a “reunion” with China under mutually acceptable terms.

“I prefer Tibet remain within the zone of China. Some kind of reunion,” he said.

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New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern embraces a member of the Muslim community following the national remembrance service for the victims of the March 15 mosques terrorist attack (Mark Tantrum/AP)

He added that Chinese and Tibetans could live side-by-side, with China helping Tibetans economically and gaining from their knowledge.

The 83-year-old Dalai Lama has been living in exile in India since a failed 1959 uprising in Tibet.

China claims Tibet has been part of its territory for more than seven centuries.

Many Tibetans insist they were essentially independent for most of that time and have protested against what they regard as China’s heavy-handed rule imposed after the People’s Liberation Army’s battled its way into the Himalayan region in 1950.

The Dalai Lama said he developed direct contact with the Chinese leadership in 1979, but little progress has been made since because China still thinks he is seeking independence for the region.

PA Media

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