China agrees to talks

Wen Jiobao agreed today, after pressure from the world community, to hold talks with the Dalai Lama. His position, however, is that the Dalai Lama needs to drop the idea of an independent Tibet.  He linked it with Taiwan’s situation.

It’s been a long time since the Dalai Lama has made independence one of his demands. The Tibetan community in exile continues to make this demand; it remains a highly emotional issue. But the Dalai Lama says he will accept being part of China as long as it has cultural and religious freedom. We’ll have to see how these talks work things out.

Emotions are high on both sides; nationalism does this to people! Nationalism is a Western idea that has seen its day. In a world where we are increasingly interdependent, nationalism makes less and less sense.  But how can you blame “emerging nations” like China (and India) who are modernizing at an astonishing pace; they feel a sense of pride.  And hosting the Olympics is their great “coming out” party and they don’t want it ruined by “criminal elements”.