Tibetans and Chinese in Australia form Harmonious Association

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His Holiness the Dalai Lama underlines that Chinese people living outside China must have a clear understanding about the situation of Tibet. In this file photo, His Holiness delivers teachings on Kamalashila's Stages of Meditation in Sydney, Australia, in June 2008.

Canberra: Tibetan and Chinese people living in Australia took the initiative to form a ‘Harmonious Association’ between the two communities, following suggestions put forward by His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his visit to Australia in June this year.

The association was formed to bring harmonious relationship and better understanding between the two communities.

It will be headed under the joint presidency of Ms Mei Leech, a famous artist from China and Tenzin Gaden, members from Chinese and Tibetan community respectively.

The inception of the association was announced on Sunday, 6 July, during the function commemorating the 73rd birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Tenzin Phuntsok Atisha, representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Australia, made the declaration.

Speaking on the occasion, Mei Leech, on behalf of the Chinese, tendered an apology to the Tibetans for their sufferings, and pledge to work hard to bring the two communities closer.

She said: “As a Han Chinese, I would like to express my genuine sorrow for the misunderstanding between Han Chinese and Tibetan people, as well as for the anguish the Tibetan people are suffering, due to the ill-minded policies of the Chinese Communist government.”

Representative Atisha, on behalf of the Tibet Information Office in Australia and the Tibetan community NSW, presented a traditional Khata (scarf) to the eight new executive members of the association, and wished the association for success in building strength and harmony to the relationship between the two communities.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has underlined that Chinese people living outside China must have a clear understanding about the situation of Tibet, emphasising that the issue of Tibet has to be ultimately resolved only between the Tibetans and Chinese people.

The full text of the Ms Mei Leech’s opening speech follows:

Today, I am very pleased to be with our Tibetan brothers and sisters to discuss the solutions of building a bridge of reconciliation between the Tibetans and the Han Chinese.

In common with the majority of Chinese people, I used to have a lot of prejudices and misunderstandings on Tibetan issues. These views, however, changed drastically one year ago. In June 2007, I had the great honour of meeting His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. I talked with him for two hours, as well as listening to his public address to the Chinese Diaspora. After this three-hour event, my previous view was wiped out entirely.

First of all, I was fascinated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s calmness and wisdom. I realized I had been wrong and misled once I saw him. I therefore gave a positive response that I would try my best to do something to for Han-Tibetan reconciliation when the Dalai Lama appealed for assistance.

Over the past year, I have spared no effort to explain the opinion and stance of the Dalai Lama to as many as possible, no matter if they were in mainland China, Australia or UK, in order to try to persuade them to abandon their misunderstandings.

I did manage to change the view of many. Once they were told that the Dalai Lama did not, and does not, seek Tibetan independence, most of them shifted their stance immediately, which was really magnificent.

However, I eventually came to the conclusion that my personal effort was to co-operate and fulfill this reconciliation.

I propose that we act together to eliminate the misunderstanding of the Chinese majority, and to dissolve their resentment and adversarial sentiments. Only in this way can Han Chinese and Tibetans co-exist harmoniously in peace, which is the basis of worldwide harmony between different nations.