US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Uzra Zeya, on Thursday received an audience with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at his official residence in McLeodganj - a small and quaint hill station in the suburbs of this northern hill town of Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh overlooking the Himalayas - who said despite China's efforts, it has failed to change Tibetan mind.
Also, the 86-year-old Nobel Peace Laureate believes the thinking of the Chinese people itself is rapidly changing.
The audience was also attended by Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) President Penpa Tsering, among other Tibetan leaders, and the members of the US Special Coordinator's delegation.
During the brief audience, the US Special Coordinator expressed US President Joe Biden and the American people's greetings to the spiritual leader.
She also offered best wishes for the good health of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and expressed the gratitude of the world for the messages of peace that His Holiness espouses.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues also discussed the rich traditions of freedom and democracy in the US and India, an official statement by the Dalai Lama's office said.
His Holiness expressed his happiness to meet the US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues and emphasized the oneness of all humanity. He explained his four main commitments in life namely the promotion of universal values, promotion of religious harmony, preservation of Tibet's culture and environment, and revival of ancient Indian wisdom.
The elderly globetrotting Buddhist monk, known for his simplicity and jovial style, further said despite the People's Republic of China's (PRC's) best efforts, it has failed to win the Tibetan people and transform their minds.
Instead, His Holiness said, the thinking of the Chinese people itself is rapidly changing.
The US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues was on a two-day visit to Dharamsala.
On Wednesday, she visited the CTA and had discussions with the 16th Kashag (cabinet) led by Penpa Tsering. She also visited the Tibetan parliament-in-exile, the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA), and the Tibet Museum, and also met with members of the Tibetan civil society.
The Dalai Lama, who along with many of his supporters fled the Himalayan homeland and took refuge in India when Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa in 1959, views himself as a simple Buddhist monk.
China regards the Dalai Lama as a dangerous "splittist", or separatist. He believes in a "middle-way" approach, meaning greater autonomy for Tibet rather than outright independence.
The visit of the US Tibet envoy, the first since her becoming the Biden administration's point person on Tibet in December 2021, is seen in the administration in exile as a crucial step to pressure China to respect the human rights of the people in Tibet, who are facing extinction of their unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity under China's repressive rule for over six decades.
A senior CTA functionary told IANS that the US's continuing role help encourage the Chinese authorities to re-evaluate its policies toward Tibet and its people.
"The Tibet Policy and Support Act is now a US law that highlights the importance of religious freedom for the reincarnation process and also respects the aspirations of the people of Tibet who deserve a future that sees their rights respected," he said.
A US-Dalai Lama relationship began with a gold watch.
"As a boy, the Dalai Lama enjoyed science and mechanics. Knowing this, President Franklin Roosevelt gave the very young Dalai Lama a watch showing the phases of the moon and the days of the week," the Dalai Lama frequently tells the story of the watch, describing the gold watch as magnificent and even took it with him when he fled Tibet in 1959.
A representative from the spiritual leader told IANS that since George H.W. Bush (1991), the Dalai Lama has met all the US Presidents, including Barack Obama on four occasions: February 18, 2010, July 16, 2011, February 21, 2014, and June 15, 2016.
Likewise, he met Bill Clinton and George W. Bush several times.
Every time the meetings prompted a sharp reaction from the Chinese government.
The 14th Dalai Lama was born on July 6, 1935, in a small village in the remote Amdo region of Tibet. (AA/IANS)