Though his second term will only be completed in August 2011, Prof. Rinpoche recently indicated that he was ready to leave his place to the younger generation. This was refused by the Dalai Lama who thought "it would send a wrong signal to the world community".
Claude Arpi met the Prime Minister in Dharamsala and discussed some interesting developments in China: the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre held under tight surveillance in China and the recent publication of the biography of former Premier, Zhao Zyiang who frankly tells his side of the student protests' story. Another surprising publication is the report of a group of independent Chinese lawyers who squarely put the blame for the 2008 unrest in Tibetan areas on the Chinese satraps in Tibet.
With the changing situation in China, Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche sees a lot of hope for the future.
Twenty years after the Tiananmen massacre, how do you see the situation evolving in China?
I consider the Tiananmen massacre as a human tragedy. (It is special) in human history: (the fact that it happened) during the later part of the 20th century and that such a brutal massacre took place in front of the eyes of the entire humanity.
This tragedy was not like the ancient ones. Such tragedies used to happen, but they only got known after months or years. People came to know through messengers or letters, but at the time of Tiananmen massacre, the communications and the information system were so developed that whatever happened there, the world would immediately know.
My deception is not about the Chinese authorities; everyone knows that they are very brutal and that they can do anything and everything without any consideration for human values.
My regrets are about the world community that always speaks of human values, human rights, democracy, equality, value for human life. They did not do anything!
Not only were they unable to save innocent lives, but also they did not sufficiently condemn this act. The world became a silent spectator of this brutal act.
There are two basic principles: "might is right" and "the survival of the fittest". These principles govern the human life much more today than in the primitive age.
It is a very serious matter. How to explain this?
We think that we are modern, civilized, evolved beings living in the 21st century, but brutal injustice and worse-than-animal acts are happening everywhere. The so-called civilized community is unable to stop them or condemn them. We are unable even to prevent such action from happening.
Sometimes, I have a tendency to lose faith in humanity.
Images: Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche. Copyright Claude Arpi. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.