On March 10 of every year, the Dalai Lama usually makes shocking statements to attract international attention. This year, he clearly voiced his support for the East Turkistan Independence Movement for the first time. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that there was nothing new in the Dalai Lama's statement, and foreign media groups also kept silent about it.
In fact, looking at the Dalai Lama's recent activities and reactions from the outside world, we can find that the Dalai Lama is now gradually losing his popularity among Western media groups. Shocking statements he has made such as, "I am a son of India," and "the reincarnation system should end," cannot stir up any disturbances and help him win support from the Western world. Instead, they can only serve as to make him laughing stock of the world. This may disappoint the old monk who is in his 70s.
During Premier Wen Jiabao's interview with Chinese and foreign journalists March 14, foreign media groups unexpectedly focused on the trend of China's economy and China's international responsibilities, overlooking other issues concerning the Dalai Lama. Obviously, the Dalai Lama is becoming a forgotten person as China's economy has a vital impact on the world, and Western countries become more and more dependent on China. The Dalai Lama is quite aware that Western countries will exploit him when they want to seek a pretext to contain China and will give him the cold shoulder if situations change.
In contrast to the increasingly awkward situation which the Dalai Lama is now in, the Chinese government is now gaining more confidence when talking about the Dalai Lama. During this year's NPC and CPPCC sessions, Palma Trily, chairman of Tibet Autonomous Region, exposed the absurdity of the Dalai Lama's statement that, "the reincarnation system should end." Trily said, "The Dalai Lama once said that reincarnation exists but stated on other occasions that reincarnation does not exist. He also said that a boy or a girl from either China or foreign countries can be appointed the reincarnated soul of the Dalai Lama, so we do not know what he really wants to say." Premier Wen once pointed out unreservedly, "The U.S. side has violated China's sovereignty and territorial integrity on issues such as the Dalai Lama's visit to the U.S. and the arms sales to Taiwan."
We have noticed that Western countries become more prudent on issues relating to the Dalai Lama as China has become influential worldwide. Several months ago, Maria Otero, the U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues said at the U.S.-India Global Issues Forum, "The Dalai Lama is a religious leader and he should pay visits to temples. In the eyes of the Americans, it is one of the roles he should play." They do not call the Dalai Lama a political leader and hold that publicizing Buddhism is one of the roles that the Dalai Lama should play.