Sat, Mar 19, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Democracy is feasible for Asia nations: Dalai Lama

SUCCESS STORY:Tibet’s spiritual leader said he hoped that Taiwanese would remain courageous in a rapidly changing world and maintain their democratic values

Staff writer, with CNA, DHARAMSALA, India

The success of democracies in Taiwan, India and Japan has given the Dalai Lama confidence that democracy is compatible with Asian nations, Tibet’s spiritual leader said yesterday, adding that the regional examples should inspire Tibetans to also implement full democracy.

The Dalai Lama made the remarks in an interview with foreign journalists, including the Central News Agency.

He said he was particularly -impressed by Taiwan’s rule of law, as demonstrated by the jailing of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who he referred to as “a good friend of mine,” after Chen was convicted on corruption charges.

The Dalai Lama said he hoped Taiwanese would remain confident and courageous in the face of a rapidly changing world.

He said he also hoped that Taiwan would keep upholding such universal values as democracy, the rule of law and transparency.

On March 10, the Dalai Lama announced his intention to relinquish his political role to a popularly elected leader.

“My desire to devolve authority has nothing to do with a wish to shirk responsibility. It is for the benefit Tibetans in the long run, “ he said at the time.

The Cabinet of the Tibetan -government-in-exile has agreed to honor his decision, but the -parliament-in-exile, which convened on March 14, wanted the Dalai Lama to continue to lead the Tibetan people.

The 75-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate said: “If they [lawmakers] come tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, then I will tell them no. An institution that is the head of both temporal and spiritual; that must end; that is outdated.”

He said he made the decision himself and that he was not under any pressure. The Dalai Lama said that his leadership was as outdated as a monarchy and he insisted that he would abolish the four-century-old tradition that Tibet’s spiritual leader also reigns as the political leader.

“Rule by spiritual leaders — by kings or rajas — is now outdated,” said the Dalai Lama, who has been calling for democratic reform since the 1960s. “I do not want to be like [ousted Egyptian president Hosni] Mubarak.”

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