Dalai Lama

* If I were a Tibetan I would not be too elated on reading John-Thor Dahlburg's interview with the Dalai Lama (May 15). At best the interview revealed the Dalai Lama's guarded optimism expressed in the hope that a liberalized, democratic China may result in a "solution to the Tibetan problem."

My impression of the Chinese is that most believe in Tibet being an integral part of China. In fact, the schools in Hong Kong have traditionally taught that the Tibetans are one of the five ethnic groups that constitute China's population.

The real problem of the Tibetans is twofold. An unwillingness on the part of the free world, including the United States and India, to take on the mighty neo-mandarins of Beijing and the Dalai Lama's mortality. Unfortunately nothing can be done about the latter and the Chinese know it. But something can be done about the former if the free world is resolute enough.

PRATAPADITYA PAL

Senior Curator

Indian and Southeast Asian Art

L.A. County Museum of Art

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