Chinese Students and Scholars Association meet with Chancellor; release follow-up statement on Dalai Lama

UC San Diego hosted the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, April 18, 2012 in RIMAC Arena. (Photo courtesy of UCSD Publications)

The UCSD Chinese Students and Scholars Association released a new statement to clarify its stance on the Dalai Lama as this year’s commencement speaker after meeting with Chancellor Pradeep Khosla.

Students and members of the CSSA met with the chancellor on Feb. 15 to ask the Dalai Lama’s campus commencement speech not mention politics and that the University refrain from describing the Dalai Lama as a “spiritual leader” or “in exile,” according to a Quartz article published last month.

Following the meeting, the group released a statement on Feb. 26 to clarify its initial statement denouncing the university’s decision.

In the statement, the group apologized for any “inappropriate wording” in the previous statement, writing that it was published after a “sudden incident.” It also clarified that the CSSA does not take direction from the Chinese consulate, stating the claim “lacks fidelity,” since the CSSA is an independent, non-profit organization. The statement clarified that the group only communicates with the consulate for cultural exchange and security of student education purposes.

The CSSA also wrote that it believes the university’s motive in inviting the Dalai Lama to campus is to advocate tolerance around campus, public service, and is in no way political.

Finally, the group promised to host a week promoting traditional Chinese culture to increase awareness, citing a lack of basic knowledge of Chinese history.

This article was compiled by the Triton News Staff.

  • ed

    As students & scholars in this country, students from China ought to avail themselves of the free and open internet that exists in this country as opposed to the restricted internet in their own country. You owe it to yourselves as “scholars” to know the truth about what your government tells you and whether or not it is true.

    If you do not believe the American internet stories about the Dalai Lama or Tianamen Square massacre then please consult the internet of your choice, i.e. Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Canada, Mexico, wherever and see the history of your country where there are no restrictions on the flow of information.

    As students and scholars, this is your opportunity to ask questions of: your professors, your parents, relatives and have them tell you the truth and not just be beholden to what the government tells you. In the west, citizens often question their governments. This does NOT make them disloyal or traitors to their countries. This is their obligation as citizens. If you want to be a good citizen of China, you ought to ask those questions and discover why the government does not allow you to view the entire picture of any controversial issue.

    • mikeygow

      The problem here is that these are the sons and daughters of party officials and successful entrepreneurs in the private and state-owned business sectors.

      You think they’re going to be able to attend their kids graduation ceremony if the Dalai Lama is giving the speech. Even the students themselves have a difficult choice here. Its a very poor decision on the part of UCSD leadership, and shows a disregard for their own students.

      Surely UCSD leadership could invite the Dalai Lama to give an address in a manner which doesn’t ruin the occasion for several hundred Chinese students who’ve worked hard and should feel as much a part of the UDSC community as others.

      There’s no way UCSD will back down over this given the centrality of freedom of expression as a constitutional right, but it shows very poor judgement on UCSD’s part: thanks for the $40k per annum tuition fees, but you’re not going to be able to attend/enjoy your own graduation. Not to mention problems on horizon for the UCSD Fudan China Center. How long is that going to last?

      Couldn’t they have got Ron Burgundy and Brian Fantana? I mean, 60% of the time, they work every time.