Statement On the Opposition Against the Dalai Lama As Commencement Speaker at the University of California San Diego
By Initiatives for China (Citizen Power) and International Chinese-Tibetan Association
February 16, 2017
The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) recently invited the 14th Dalai Lama to attend its graduation ceremony and deliver the keynote speech on June 17, 2017. The invitation unexpectedly triggered a strong opposition from Chinese student organizations at UCSD, including the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, Chinese Student Club, and China Enterprise Confederation. Such action is embarrassing, and deeply troubling.
Universities in a democratic country are free to invite anyone they deem appropriate to give commencement addresses, and whatever the speaker wants to say is his personal freedom of speech. We all remember that former and current leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have given speeches at schools in the United States. For example, in 2007, Jiang Zemin delivered a speech at Harvard University, and in 2015, Xi Jinping spoke at Lincoln High School. If the worst human right abusers and dictators in the world can fully enjoy freedom of speech, why can’t His Holiness the Dalai Lama – the Nobel Peace Prize winner and world’s most respected peace and compassion ambassador – enjoy the same?
It is true that the protests of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association are also practicing their freedom of speech, but the question is: are these protesters freely expressing their own views or are they abetted by the Chinese government?
In their protests, the Chinese students organizations falsely accuse the Dalai Lama as a separatist. It is a well-known fact that the Dalai Lama has a long holding moderate position on the issue of Tibet, namely the Middle-Way Approach, meaning that while the Tibetan people do not accept the present status of Tibet under China’s occupation, they do not seek independence from China either. They instead seek a genuine autonomy within the framework of the People’s Republic of China.
The Middle-Way Approach shows the Dalai Lama not only does not attempt to separate from China, but also has been trying to maintain the country’s territorial integrity. Even though the Tibetan people are under the brutal repression of the Communist regime, the Dalai Lama still insists on a peaceful and rational position. He continues to reach out to Beijing for dialogues to peacefully resolve the Tibetan issue.
The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China stipulates that Tibet shall have an autonomous status. The Dalai Lama’s Middle-Way Approach is nothing more than asking the Chinese regime to keep this promise and give the Tibetans a real autonomy.
The fact of the matter is, it is the CCP that creates de facto separation by terrorizing the Tibetans and pushing them away; it is CCP that undermines the national and ethnic unity by smearing the beloved Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama; it is CCP itself that splits up the Motherland by giving away large parts of China’s territory to foreign countries, such as Vladivostok, Outer Khingan Range, Sixty-Four Villages East of the Heilongjiang River, Bechlongvi, Jiangxinpo and etc.
We sincerely hope that the Chinese students at the UCSD will think independently and objectively and reject the Chinese regime’s brainwash. We encourage them to keep an open mind and listen to what the Dalai Lama has to say and then make their own judgment. We are sure the Chinese students will hear what the regime does not want them to hear, see a peaceful person whom the regime does not want them to see, and know the historical facts of territory that the regime does not want them to know.