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Dalai’s influence dwindles alongside Tibetan development

By Sun Xiaobo (Global Times)    10:08, March 12, 2015

Zhu Weiqun, a senior Chinese religious affairs official, in response to questions posed by Western reporters at a press briefing Wednesday during the ongoing two sessions, said that the reason the Dalai Lama has been received by fewer and fewer foreign leaders and is less influential abroad is because of the national support for Tibet and its development and stability in recent years. The comments are revealing.

With a sensitive identity, the Dalai Lama has long been used by the West as a card played to upset China. News about him has come up from time to time to roil the international media and meddle with China's relationship with other countries.

Last year, South Africa refused to issue a visa to the Dalai Lama and in December Pope Francis rejected the Dalai Lama's request for a meeting. US President Barack Obama met with the Dalai Lama in February last year for the third time during his presidency, but avoided an official meeting last month at the National Prayer Breakfast.

The West seems to be finding out that they have made incorrect judgments about the rising China. China is gaining more confidence on the international stage and is unlikely to be enraged easily now. Its ability to stay calm gives the lie powerfully toward those who expect to see an outraged Beijing. The backlash after a meeting with the Dalai Lama then gets weaker and the exiled figure is actually being marginalized worldwide.

The Dalai Lama must have been aware of his fading influence and usefulness to the West. Now the 79-year-old turns to the reincarnation system, which is critical to Tibetan Buddhism, and has said on several occasions that he will not be reincarnated if Tibet isn't free when he dies.

However, as Zhu pointed out, the Dalai Lama, who claims to be a religious leader, is using reincarnation as a tool for his political ends and wants to halt it at his will. Such absurd thoughts that betray the religion will not gain support from followers of Tibetan Buddhism.

The issue of the Dalai Lama between China and the West isn't an issue of religious freedom, but only reflects a politicized divergence between the two sides. Remarkable progress has been witnessed in Tibet with people's wellbeing having improved in recent years. Last year Tibet's GDP grew by 10.8 percent, ranking the second nationwide, and the disposable income of residents sees the fastest increase in the country. The Chinese government is able to bring a better life to Tibetan people and enhance social solidarity as well as the world's trust.

China will continue to make efforts to promote the development of Tibet and people's livelihood. With Tibet getting better off, the Dalai Lama will find he is left with fewer and fewer excuses to stir up sensations and woo the West. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Kong Defang,Yao Chun)

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