Dalai Lama: Leaders in China 'don't understand the variety of different cultures'

Dalai Lama: Leaders in China 'don't understand the variety of different cultures'
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The Dalai Lama on Wednesday said that China's leaders “don’t understand the variety of different cultures” and criticized the ruling Communist Party in China, according to a report from The Associated Press

“Chinese communist leaders, they do not understand the variety of different cultures,” the Dalai Lama said according to AP reports. “In reality, too much control will harm people.”

The Dalai Lama spoke at an online press conference hosted in Japan where he said he did not have any immediate plans to speak with Chinese leader Xi Jingping and did not make a comment when asked about Xi's plan to run for another five-year term in office, reports the AP. 

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He also stated that he preferred to remain in India, where he has been since 1959 following Tibet's failed attempt to overthrow Chinese rule, as opposed to getting in the middle of the "complicated politics" between officially-atheist China and largely Buddhist Taiwan, according to the AP.

“Sometimes I really feel this simple Buddhist monk [does] not want to [become involved] in complicated politics,” he said, according to the AP.

The Associated Press reports that the Dalai Lama officially retired from politics in 2011, but he remains very influential in Tibetan traditions, while the Chinese government largely sees him as an icon of Tibetan independence and has ceased contact with him and his representatives for over a decade.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told the news outlet that the door to dialogue and engagement with the Dalai Lama “remains open,” but that Beijing would not discuss the status of Tibet.

“What the Dalai Lama side should do is give up its position on splitting China, stop its secessionist activities and take concrete actions to win the trust of the central government and the Chinese people,” Wang said Wednesday, according to the AP.