Some Western leaders need to learn more about Tibet and the Dalai Lama so as to get a better understanding of the Chinese region, world-renowned publisher Louise T. Blouin MacBain said.
"Some heads of state even don't know that there were serfs in the 1950s in Tibet, and they don't have a clear picture of today's Tibet as well," MacBain said.
"That's why they sometimes make mistakes in Tibet-related issues," added MacBain, the first foreign visitor to Lhasa since the March 14 riot. "Therefore, heads of state must know more facts on Tibet and the Dalai Lama."
MacBain, chairwoman of the Louise T. Blouin Foundation, said the lack of knowledge about Tibet and the Dalai Lama by some heads of state "bothers" her. "So I send them whatever I know to help them have a better understanding of the Tibet issue," she said.
The Dalai Lama "told Reuters on April 10 that Tibetans should also be in control of their own defense and foreign policy," MacBain said, adding that she was "very confused" with his positions. "What does he want all these for?" she asked.
MacBain said since the March 14 riots, she has actively appealed to heads of state and Western media to learn the facts about the demands of the Dalai Lama as part of the 'Middle Way' approach."
The Dalai Lama "is seeking political control of over 25 percent of China, extending Tibet beyond the borders of the Tibet autonomous region," she said, noting that it is not "reasonable" and even the head of state in a Western country would refuse such a demand if he were to handle such issues.
"I don't think it's healthy for him to go around the world and criticize China," she said, adding, "it's not constructive."
Speaking of what she saw when she was in Lhasa after the riots, she said, "I was impressed by what I have seen in Tibet."
Nobody is starving; all children can go to school; the literacy rate has jumped from 5 percent in the 1950s to 95 percent; and the economic growth is as high as 14 percent, she said.
"They (China) are going to be investing $70 million in cultural protection," she said.
"Leaders of some nations don't know what is going on in China, their knowledge of Tibet is mostly based on Western media reports, and they even echo the Dalai Lama's claim that there is 'cultural genocide' in Tibet."
"It is difficult to appreciate the present-day Tibetan autonomous region without physically traveling to Lhasa in order to see both the ancient and sacred sites situated on the high plateau, but also to witness the amount of development that has occurred since 1950," she read from what she has written.
When the Dalai Lama uses the phrase "cultural genocide", it begs questions, she said. "There is a growing effort and awareness to preserve, enhance and promote Tibetan culture rather than cultural genocide," she noted.
When the Dalai Lama said there is cultural genocide in Tibet, "I don't know which Tibet he is actually describing " she asked. "As for me, it's not the one that I have seen with my own eyes."
(Xinhua News Agency June 27, 2008)