The Dalai Lama always describes himself as "a simple monk", but what he has done in the past few decades indicates that he is also a politician who goes around the world doing things that don't square with his words.
It's hard to imagine that a simple monk could be so busy on the world stage. Currently on his agenda are trips to Seattle in the United States, London and Nantes, France. On his travels, he's expected to meet high-ranking officials including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
These are just some of his global travels over the past five decades.
In 1951, the Chinese government signed a 17-point agreement with Tibetan representatives. The Dalai Lama later telegraphed chairman Mao Zedong, saying the local Tibetan government and Tibetan monks supported the central government's leadership.
On Oct. 1, 1958, he wrote in the People's Daily, in his role as a vice chairman of the top legislature, the National People's Congress, that the Tibetans had enjoyed full freedom and equality since returning to the motherland.
However, several months later, the Dalai Lama supported an armed insurgency in Tibet. He fled to India after it failed and formed a "government in exile".
Since then, he has betrayed his home country and fellow Tibetans time and again with repeated calls to separate Tibet from China, which is far beyond what a simple monk would do.
He is preaching "peace" and "human compassion" and seeking "benefits" for the Tibetans when he shuttles around the world by air, receiving accolades here and there.
But the self-proclaimed spiritual leader has obviously forgotten his identity, abused his religion and played too much politics.
He has never renounced the "Tibetan Exile Constitution", an outlawed document similar to the "Future Tibet Constitution" drafted in 1963, which proclaimed the establishment of an "ethnically unified state led by the Dalai Lama".
In 1987 and 1988, he proposed a "Five Point Peace Plan" in the U.S. Congress and a "New Seven-point Proposal" in the European Parliament, supporting Tibetan independence.
In recent years, the Dalai Lama has repeated that he did not seek independence but instead sought a high degree of autonomy for Tibet within the framework of the Chinese Constitution.
Under the Dalai Lama's autonomy claim, Chinese troops should leave Tibet. Also, Tibet could maintain diplomatic relations with other countries and international organizations, which is tantamount to admitting Tibet's independence, said An Cedain, a researcher with the Center for Research on Tibet.
Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama is expanding his pro-independence infrastructure. His 13th government in exile, established in 2006, has seven ministries: civil affairs, foreign affairs and media, religion and culture, education, finance, health and security. In 1959, his first such government had only four ministries.
To make this government in exile status more credible, the Dalai Lama and his supporters produced a "Tibetan national anthem" and "Tibetan national flag", which had never existed before 1959.
Students in overseas Tibetan schools must sing the anthem and hoist the banner at their opening ceremonies, which demonstrates the Dalai Lama's transparent goal of independence.
During the latest riots in Lhasa, he disassociated himself from the conspiracy as an innocent monk, merely admonishing his followers in reported statements "not to resort to violence" after the disturbances.
An article in the New York Times said "the Dalai Lama was a poor and poorly advised political strategist".
If the Dalai Lama, 73, really wishes to be a simple Buddhist monk, it's high time for him to stop playing politics and cheating people, Westerners in particular, with his hypocritical "autonomy" claims.
(Xinhua News Agency, March 31, 2008)