Agam's Gecko
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Dalai Lama and President Bush
Dalai Lama and President Bush meet at the White House, Nov. 9, 2005. The President wears a khata, a traditional Tibetan offering denoting respect and honour.
Reuters photo

he Tibetan spiritual leader and head of state of the exiled Tibetan government, the Dalai Lama met yesterday at the White House with President Bush. Also present to welcome His Holiness were the First Lady Laura Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, Under-Secretary of State for Global Affairs and Democracy and Special Coordinator on Tibet Paula Dobriansky, and Director for Asian Affairs Michael Green. Accompanying the Tibetan leader were his Special Envoy Lodi Gyari, Representative for the Americas Tashi Wangdi and Secretary Tenzin N. Taklha. Following the meeting with President Bush, the third such meeting for the two leaders, Secretary Rice and the Dalai Lama held further talks at the State Department. He is due to meet US Congressional representatives next week.

There were no immediate details of the discussions, although Bush was said to have expressed strong support for the Dalai Lama's efforts at reaching a mutually agreeable solution with current Chinese leaders. The Buddhist monk told the President that their meeting felt like "a reunion of old friends." Lodi Gyari said later, "His Holiness the Dalai Lama was extremely pleased with the meetings and deeply appreciated the warm reception he received from the President and First Lady, whom he considers as friends."

In his report to Congress on Tibet in April this year President Bush said, "The Dalai Lama can be a constructive partner as China deals with the difficult challenges of regional and national stability. He represents the views of the vast majority of Tibetans and his moral authority helps to unite the Tibetan community inside and outside of China. China's engagement with the Dalai Lama or his representatives to resolve problems facing Tibetans is in the interest of both the Chinese Government and the Tibetan people. At the same time, the lack of resolution of these problems leads to greater tensions inside China and will be a stumbling block to fuller political and economic engagement with the United States and other nations."

Hu Jintao in London
Chinese President Hu Jintao views Tibetans waving their national flag, reflected in the window of Queen Elizabeth's coach.
Reuters photo
Meanwhile in London, Chinese President Hu Jintao was met by Tibetan protesters and their supporters at every opportunity. He enjoyed a state banquet with the Royal Family, took a ride in the royal carriage, held discussions with Tony Blair, and opened an exhibition to display the treasures of earlier periods in China's imperial history.

The exhibition focuses on three emperors of the Qing Dynasty, and the glories of that expansionist Chinese empire. One of the three, Qianlong, is particularly remembered by communist leaders for his "edict," to which they constantly refer as proof of Tibet's perpetual subservience to the Chinese motherland. The Qing empire ended with the republican revolution in 1911, and the Chinese missions in Lhasa, headed by diplomatic representatives called ambans, were expelled and sent back to China. The thirteenth Dalai Lama reiterated his country's independent status following the change of government in China, which Tibet continued to exercise without hindrance or interference from China until the communist invasion of 1950. Even at the peak of Chinese imperial power, there was never the degree of interference in Tibetan affairs or governance that we see today under the communists and their "Tibetan Autonomous Region." It may seem paradoxical for the leader of the largest, and one of the last governing communist parties on earth, to be so enthralled with the glorious emperors of centuries past (Manchu ones, at that), but this is just a case of (paraphrasing Deng Xiaopeng) socialist history "with Chinese characteristics."

President Hu has now left the UK and proceeded to Germany, for more appointments with the Tibetan freedom movement and German officials. The Dalai Lama will travel to Scotland -- a country with its own parliament and broad autonomy within the United Kingdom -- after his US visit wraps up at the end of next week. And President Bush leaves around the same time for a series of East Asian visits, including a stop in Beijing. China is apparently planning some sort of recognition for the late Hu Yaobang around November 19th, which would be an ideal opportunity to finally address their Tibet problem.


he deaths of Malaysian terrorist Azahari bin Husin and one of his comrades in East Java yesterday have been confirmed today by police with the use of fingerprint records. The latest information from the scene, where National Police chief General Sutanto gave an impromtu news conference, is that Azahari was killed by police gunfire and did not have the opportunity to "self-detonate" -- something he was said to have been prepared for at all times. His comrade, identified as Arman, was apparently the one who detonated the bomb which blew the house apart. Today's reports are stating that eleven bombs went off during the seige, out of an estimated 30 bombs present in the house. It took until midday today to render the scene safe.

Metro TV News aired video this morning showing the debris and rubble inside the house, strewn with limbs and body parts. One member of the gang by name of Suwandi was taken alive last night, and related arrests were made in the Central Java capital Semarang.

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