China needs to change with new leader: Dalai Lama

AFP-JIJI

The use of “secrecy, censorship and bullying” to silence dissenting voices in China must end under the country’s incoming leader, the Dalai Lama said Monday.

President-in-waiting Xi Jinping will have “no alternative” but to accept political change over the coming years, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader told reporters in Yokohama.

“Now Hu Jintao era passed. Now Xi Jinping (is) becoming the president. I think there is no alternative except there is some political change,” the Dalai Lama said on the third day of a 12-day stay in Japan.

“Hu Jintao started to build harmonious society, stable society. So for stable society, I think gap (between the) rich and (the) poor must be reduced,” he said. “Also you need an independent judiciary system, free press, rule of law. These are very, very important. So the goal, harmony, wonderful. Stability, wonderful. But use of secrecy, censorship and bullying . . . there is something wrong in their system. I think to create a genuine harmony… you need openness.”

China denounces the Dalai Lama as a “splittist” seeking an independent Tibet, accusations he has repeatedly denied.

At a closed-doors congress beginning Thursday, Beijing’s power players will anoint a new chief for the next 10 years. His regime will have to address growing anger over graft as well as challenges from a vocal band of dissidents and rights activists.

Vice President Xi is widely expected to be promoted to Communist Party general secretary this week and then state president next year, succeeding Hu in a once-every-10-years leadership change.

The Dalai Lama has a large following in Japan and is a frequent visitor to the country where many people practice some elements of Buddhism.

The 77-year-old Nobel laureate said he believes democracy is the best system that China could adopt to solve the problems it faces, including the territorial dispute with Japan.

He said an overemphasis on nationalism is at the root of its difficulties.

Education materials are “extreme, almost like (saying) Chinese culture is (the) best, China (as a) nation is the best”, he said. “Too much emotion (is) involved, that (is) not realistic.”

The Dalai Lama said the “lack of information” means many Chinese people associate Japanese people only with wartime atrocities.

He said this led to the kind of anti-Japan outbursts that rocked China after the nationalization of the Senkaku Islands in September, when shops were looted and businesses burned.

“Basically I think China needs Japan and Japan needs China,” he said, when asked how Beijing and Tokyo could move past the dispute.

“I think you should think more holistic. Small disagreements should not create (conflict). You should think more broadly,” he said.