Dalai Lama says expects China political reform under Xi

YOKOHAMA, Japan Mon Nov 5, 2012 10:41am EST

1 of 7. Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama (L) jokes as he pulls the ears of an photographer after a news conference in Yokohama, south of Tokyo November 5, 2012. China's leader in-waiting, Xi Jinping, will have no choice but to embark on political reforms to leave a lasting mark the way the current leadership has done with economic reforms, exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said on Monday.

Credit: Reuters/Yuriko Nakao

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YOKOHAMA, Japan (Reuters) - China's leader in-waiting, Xi Jinping, will have no choice but to embark on political reforms to leave a lasting mark the way the current leadership has done with economic reforms, exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said on Monday.

Xi, currently vice president, is expected to take over from President Hu Jintao as Communist Party head at a congress opening in Beijing on Thursday and will then become president in March in a generational leadership change.

"Now Hu Jintao's era (is the) past, now Xi Jinping is coming as president. I think there's no alternative except some political change, so political reform. Economy reform (is) already there" the Dalai Lama told reporters while on a pastoral visit to Japan.

He acknowledged that economic reforms had produced benefits for China, but said the resort to force by the authorities was at odds with their aim of creating a "harmonious society".

"Using force brings suspicion, fear. That's just opposite of harmony," he said.

Beijing has branded the Dalai Lama a separatist and accused him of inciting protests against Chinese rule in Tibet, including more than 60 self-immolations in and around the region since March 2011. Beijing denounces the self-immolations as acts by terrorists and criminals.

The Dalai Lama denies he is a separatist and says he only wants meaningful autonomy for his Himalayan region. He made no direct comment on the self-immolations or last week's United Nations report that urged China to address deep-rooted frustrations that have led to such desperate forms of protest by Tibetans.

Beijing, however, slammed the report and spared no harsh words for the 77-year-old leader.

"We are strongly opposed to and dissatisfied with the so-called statement on Tibet by the U.N. human rights chief," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

"The Dalai clique has seriously beautified the illegal recent self immolations in Tibetan areas, which are extreme behavior in violation of religious mores."

The Dalai Lama said he hoped that if China became more democratic it would help resolve issues with its neighbors, such as a territorial dispute between China and Japan.

Sino-Japanese relations have deteriorated sharply since September, when the Japanese government bought from a private owner some of a group of East China Sea islets that both countries claim, triggering anti-Japan protests across China.

As part of talks between Tokyo and Beijing on the territorial spat, senior foreign ministry officials from both countries met in China on Sunday and Monday and agreed to continue their dialogue.

(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Writing by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Ron Popeski)

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Comments (5)
Spacetime wrote:
Glad Mr. Dalai still keep hoping. He is one of the most persistent guys I know.

Nov 05, 2012 10:04am EST  --  Report as abuse
stambo2001 wrote:
Ah, the Dalai Lama. Nothing says detachment to worldly concerns as politics, celebrity friends, and leading people to kill themselves in protest. Life is suffering. Nothing is permanent. This little fellow may be a Lama, but a buddhist monk he has not been for a long, long time.

Nov 05, 2012 1:52pm EST  --  Report as abuse
mgunn wrote:
Unfortunately being a democracy does not guarantee peace or non-aggressive behavior at all. Just look at us: we bombed the heck out of Vietnam and Cambodia, have the largest military by far and the most militaristic and clandestine programs worldwide, and invaded and killed over 600,000 in Iraq and lie about it. The US is routinely involved in wars and the exception for us is peace. The last time the chinese were involved in a war was decades ago and even the current tensions are limited to rhetoric and maybe water canons and public protests – really incomparable to the trillions of bullets, bombs, drones, troops, missiles, and the ensuing deaths worldwide we caused.

Nov 05, 2012 2:44pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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