Czech Foreign Minister calls on His Holiness the Dalai Lama

December 12th 2011

Prague, Czech Republic, 11 December 2011 - Czech Foreign Minister Mr. Karel Schwarzenberg called on His Holiness the Dalai Lama this evening at his hotel in Prague.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Czech Foreign Minister Mr. Karel Schwarzenberg in Prague on December 11, 2011.
Photo/Ondrej Besperát

His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that the Tibetan spirit especially among the younger generation in Tibet was extremely strong. He called on governments and parliaments to send fact finding missions to Tibet to find out the actual situation in there.
 
He expressed his deep concern about Tibet’s environment. Environment is not a political issue he said. Tibet’s environment is important for China as many rivers that start in Tibet flow through China.
 
He said international environmental experts including from China should investigate what damages has been done and what can be done to prevent further damage.
 
Earlier in the morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressed the roundtable conference on Democracy and Human Rights in Asia: One Year After an Empty Chair in Oslo at Charles University in Prague.
 
Former President Havel who couldn’t attend the conference due to ill health said in his message that we are entering a rather dangerous period where human rights and civic freedoms were being sacrificed for material growth.
 
“Human rights issues faced with ever growing economic might of a country like China are being trivialized and economic interests are being deliberately separated from those dealing with basic freedoms. And this is very dangerous, not only because solidarity with those pursuing freedom in different parts of the world is fading but also for Euro-Atlantic area whose original identity is thus being lost,” said President Havel.
 

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the roundtable conference on Democracy and Human Rights in Asia at James University in Prague, on December 11, 2011.
Photo/Ondrej Besperát

 “We felt very intensely how important aid from abroad was for us, as well as the support and solidarity of people from various corners of the world who took interest in out activities,” he said.
 
“It was a great encouragement when we saw that there are many people –often from very far away – who feel a similar responsibility for the world as we felt. We have been attempting now, for more than twenty years already, to return that solidarity that we received and to express support to all those who are fighting for human rights and basic freedoms in Asia and elsewhere. For people like Liu Xiabo and the likes of him all over the world,” the message said.
 
In his address, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that the 7 billion people share one home and the survival of this planet depends on us. We have to think about others’ wellbeing.
 
The Tibetan leader praised India for its democratic principles and said there is accountability of governance.
 
China he said, with its recent economic developments have great potential to make constructive contribution on the global stage. However, he expressed concern about the present system of government.
 

Mr Bernard Kouchner, former French Foreign Minister with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the roundtable conference on Democracy and Human Rights in Asia in Prague, on December 11, 2011. Photo/Ondrej Besperát
He said China needs respect from rest of the world. Respect comes from trust, trust needs transparency. This he said was lacking in China. The Tibetan spiritual leader said China needs political reform. The Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao had also called for such reforms in China.
 
His Holiness expressed his concern about the growing gap between the rich and the poor, as well as the high level of corruption.
 
Mr. Bernard Kouchner, former French Foreign Minister said that China is economically doing well but at the same time, there are lots of people imprisoned. Arab Spring has worried the Chinese leadership, as they fear it will come to them.
 
Dr. Jianli Yang, President and Founder of the Initiatives for China based in Boston said that China is afraid of Liu Xiaobo, a key author of Charter 08. The Charter 08 called for democratic changes in China. Over 350 Chinese intellectuals and human rights activists signed the charter.
 

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Nobel Laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi and Mr. Stéphane Hessel, Co-drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Prague, on December 11, 2011.
Photo/Ondrej Besperát

The conference commemorated the first anniversary of Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo and focused on the current state of democracy and human rights in Asia.
 
His Holiness the Dalai Lama was invited to the Czech Republic by former Czech president Vaclav Havel and Forum2000 who organised the conference.
 
Nobel Laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi and Mr. Stéphane Hessel, Co-drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also spoke at the conference.
 
In the afternoon, His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke about his three commitments in life during the public talk on Searching for Happiness in a Troubled World at the Prague Congress Centre.
 

His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his public talk in Prague on December 11, 2011. Photo/Ondrej Besperát
He said he has always tried to promote secular ethnics which he said must be promoted through education starting from kindergarten.
 
Ultimate source of happiness is within ourselves. A calm mind and concern for others welfare will help towards happiness. Compassion he said, is not about having pity for others, but sense of respect for others. 

 

 

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