As part of his 12-day visit to Japan, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama spoke in Yokohama on Tuesday about the incoming Chinese leader and how the political climate in the country must change. He said the Chinese government will have no choice but to end its use of “secrecy, censorship and bullying” to quiet the voices of dissent trying to speak out.
Hu Jintao, the current leader, is stepping down, and Xi Jinping will be the Chinese president for the next ten years. The Dalai Lama feels this new leader must accept the political change that has been ongoing and will continue for several years. In speaking about Hu Jintao’s started initiatives, the spiritual leader fells that the goals of a harmonious and stable society are “wonderful,” but there must also be an independent judiciary system, freedom of press, and a reduction of the gap between the rich and poor.
The Dalai Lama is very well-recognized in Japan, with a large following and his frequent visits. In his opinion, he feels democracy would be the best option for China to adopt at this point, and its overemphasis on nationalism is key to many of the country’s problems, including the territorial island dispute with Japan. He points to examples in education materials, which state with extremity that “China is the best,” an rely on too much emotion.
A lack of information among the Chinese people has led them to only associate the Japanese with wartime atrocities of the past. When asked his opinion on how the two countries could move past their dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, the Dalai Lama said that China and Japan need each other, and they shouldn’t let small disagreements create huge conflicts. They both need to think on a broad scale.