Hello Dalai!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Chinese government officials are upset that President Bush has presented the Dalai Lama with a Congressional Gold Medal and called him 'symbol of peace.'

Bush did the right thing and we're glad that the gesture got the attention of the Chinese government.

The exiled spiritual head of Tibet's Buddhists by his side, Bush praised a man he called a "universal symbol of peace and tolerance, a shepherd of the faithful and a keeper of the flame for his people."

"Americans cannot look to the plight of the religiously oppressed and close our eyes or turn away," Bush said at the U.S. Capitol building, where he personally handed the Dalai Lama the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal.

The Dalai Lama, chuckling as he stumbled over his remarks in English, said the award will bring "tremendous joy and encouragement to the Tibetan people" and he thanked Bush for his "firm stand on religious freedom and democracy."

China has absorbed the once independent region of Tibet and suppressed religious activity there, along with any advocacy of independence.

The Chinese are particularly sensitive to its image abroad now as the result of being host to the 2008 Olympics. It's appropriate that the U.S. should apply pressure on the Chinese to allow its citizens to have a greater voice in their own destiny.