So what if Britain didn’t want to meet the Dalai Lama?

While the fight for Tibet’s freedom continues to burn passionately throughout Tibetan communities across the world, it is becoming more and more evident that their actions and words may be doing more damage than good for themselves.

Recently, there has been much attention given to the revelation that the British Prime Minister had banned his ministers from meeting the Dalai Lama during his visit to Britain in June. This article was highlighted on a Tibetan news website,, which can be read here.

After the initial fuss dies down though, a series of questions come to mind: If British ministers met with the Dalai Lama, what real benefit does Britain get in return? What benefit do the Tibetans get? How does meeting the Dalai Lama help the British economy? How does it help the millions of unemployed people around the country who are trying to make ends meet and feed their families? How does it sustain, in any way, Britain’s current flailing financial crisis?

The hard truth of the matter is that there is no benefit – for either the British or the Tibetans.

Putting aside the warm fuzzy feelings of meeting the Dalai Lama, the British are contending with very real problems for their population of almost 63 million today. Unemployment rates in the UK are at its highest since 1995, standing at 8.4% of the population. A stagnant economy is having dire knock-on effects on employment throughout the nation.

However, there’s a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel: China. This financial giant were in talks to offer £27 billion to a fund which would be used by the International Monetary Fund to bail out failing Eurozone economies. It is certainly compassionate and generous of China to help poorer economies like that of the British and many countries across the Euro-zone. China has no obligation to do this.

So it wouldn’t seem unreasonable that the British might be reluctant to do anything that might upset China – like meet the Dalai Lama, a figure the Chinese have not liked for decades. Whatever their reasons for disliking him and whether the reasons are valid or not is besides the point. China is throwing a lifeline to a desperately ailing economy and it just wouldn’t be wise, would it, to antagonize a giant? There’s a bigger picture for the British and Europeans to be concerned about – the economy, the welfare of their people, their global standing. Not meeting the Dalai Lama – no matter how peace-loving and wonderful he is – is a small trade-off for what could potentially save a disastrous situation for their entire nation.

It seems that the Tibetans however, have a bone to pick. They aren’t happy about the British not meeting the Dalai Lama. It’s up on their website for the world to see – look how bad the British are for not accommodating our spiritual leader. Look how they pander to the Chinese.

HH the Dalai Lama with the British Prime Minister David Cameron (center) and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (right) at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, UK, on May 14, 2012.

Again, we ask: If British ministers met with the Dalai Lama, what real benefit does Britain get in return from the Tibetan people? But consider – if the British kept up good relations with China, what great financial and political benefit could they receive? It is clear who the British would rather maintain a friendship with.

Actually, as things stand, the British have already been extremely kind to the Tibetans. For over 50 years, since the Tibetans first fled their country, countries like the United Kingdom have:

  • allowed Tibetan refugees into their country and provided them aid.
  • allowed visits by Tibetan Lamas into their country, to raise sponsorship to be sent back to their monasteries and people in India and Tibet.
  • allowed the Tibetan flag to be flown in their country, Tibetan culture and religion to be shared and promoted among their people.
  • allowed democratic ‘Free Tibet’ protests on their own British land against China’s ruling of Tibet.

Rather than protest against their refusal to meet with the Dalai Lama, the Tibetans should learn gratitude for what they have already received, in abundance, from these countries. Not look for the first opportunity to play a victim of international relations with China. Publishing articles like this on their websites only appears ungrateful and petulant.

The United Kingdom and many other democratic countries of the West have done much to help the global Tibetan communities. But with the rising economic and political might of China, one must understand that they each have to balance a tightrope with the Chinese. This is not something bad, but something necessary – if only for the pure survival of their own people and nation.

Yes, the world feels sadness for the Tibetan situation and great empathy for their wish to return to their homeland. But the world also needs to look after their own people. For all they are fighting for their own freedom, it is time the Tibetans understand the need for other governments to take care of their own people too and fulfill their most basic needs. For example, 24,000 people died from the cold of winter in 2011 – 2012 in England and Wales simply because they were too poor to pay for heating. Wouldn’t the British government need to find solutions to these most fundamental issues? This is much more important than the mere pomp and circumstance of a meeting with the Dalai Lama. The Tibetans are quick to decry their lack of freedom and support. But they fail to understand that every other country in the world wants the same things that they do and offer little empathy or support for anyone else. Seldom do they think beyond their own small ‘Free Tibet’ battle.

His Eminence Kundeling Rinpoche, who sued the Dalai Lama for religious freedoms

This minuteness of the Tibetans’ way of thinking is precisely what has held them back from getting back their own country. Why would China or the world take the Tibetans seriously when they nitpick on such small issues? This narrow thinking is also what has led them to repress their own people. The ban on the Buddhist Deity Dorje Shugden – and the ensuing discrimination, ostracism and attacks on people who chose to continue the practice – is a perfect example of how the Tibetan authorities focus so much of their time, energy and resources on such small, insignificant things.

The Dorje Shugden issue became so prevalent among Tibetan exiled communities that it eventually even escalated to a scale that disturbed their host country, India. For example, the Dalai Lama was taken to court within India for restricting religious freedom. Also, physical attacks against Dorje Shugden devotees risked creating instability and grave unrest across the Tibetan settlements in India.

Eventually, why would anyone take the Tibetans seriously when it is evident they cannot even look after themselves or their own people? When it is clear they have such little empathy, support or understanding for the welfare of other nations, such as the current financial crisis being faced by the British? Their recent disgruntlement about the British ministers not being allowed to meet the Dalai Lama is yet another example of a narrow fixation to achieve freedom for Tibet, only in the way they want it.

So as the Tibetans get in a flap about the British meeting or not meeting the Dalai Lama, they need to step back for a moment and think: what good really comes out of meeting the Dalai Lama? Either for the British or for the Tibetans? They wish for the British show of solidarity for their cause of freedom, but show little understanding back to the very people they’re trying to canvas for support. Try a little empathy, dear Tibetans, or even gratitude for what the world has already done to support you so far. That’s more likely to put you back on the map of discussion.



The original article

A month after his meeting PM Cameron barred ministers from meeting the Dalai Lama


DHARAMSHALA, December 3: Revelations by a senior British member of parliament has shed light on a “blanket prohibition” that 10 Downing Street had thrown on its ministers on meeting the Dalai Lama during his UK visit this June.

British daily The Telegraph reported that two of its ministers Tim Loughton and Norman Baker were barred from meeting the Tibetan spiritual leader over lunch at the eleventh hour. The planned meeting then had coincided with crisis talks that PM David Cameron was holding over Eurozone countries at the G20 summit in Cancun, Mexico. China was in talks about offering £27billion, into a fighting fund expected to be used up by the International Monetary Fund to bail out Eurozone economies.

In July, the pair had written a private letter to PM Cameron, strongly protesting the manner in which way they were muzzled and complained about the “tremendous pressure” put on them to skip the meeting. The pair said they felt British policy over China was “tantamount to saying that British foreign policy on Tibet is whatever China wants it to be.”

The Dalai Lama had visited UK between June 14 and 23 and met with fellow Nobel Peace laureate and Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi besides interacting with a number of religious leaders and lawmakers.

“We feel we have to write to you to express our concern and annoyance with regard to the inflexible instruction given last week to ministers, prohibiting any contact whatsoever with the Dalai Lama during his visit to the UK,” the two ministers said in the letter.

The pair noted that their absence at the private lunch was “deeply embarrassing” in terms of their longstanding Tibetan connections and expressed surprise over how the Government could impose a “blanket prohibition on a minister meeting a religious leader in private in a non-ministerial capacity.”

They further said that although the government had earlier cleared their meeting, the then-foreign minister Jeremy Browne’s last minute intervention “crossed the line” and was “frankly just plain wrong.”

Baker is honorary president of the Tibet Society and Loughton, who was sacked from his ministerial post in September, is a member of the Tibet Society council.

The same month, China had threatened to pull its Olympic athletes out of their training camp in Leeds, due to a scheduled visit by the Dalai Lama to the city. Chinese officials asked Leeds City Council to put pressure on the organisers to cancel the Dalai Lama’s visit to attend the Yorkshire International Business Convention as its keynote speaker. The visit however went on as per schedule.

In May, the Dalai Lama met with PM Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg in London. The meeting went down badly in Beijing, which urged the UK to “stop conniving at and supporting” Tibetan separatist attempts.

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  1. Judging from the number of eating vs heating headlines Ive seen recently, this is a very real possibility for many of us (although I cant imagine why… dont buy that blooming plasma for Christmas and you should be fine!). As much as good ol Dave rubs me up the wrong way, at least hes got our interests at heart. Its not that I dont care about the Tibetans but honestly, why should anyone care about them when they dont care about one another to begin with???

    If they spend all of their time undermining each others welfare, why should the rest of the world give a toss about their welfare?

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.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

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