12/19/2011, 00.00
TIBET – CHINA – EUROPE
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Tibet and China lost a friend with Vaclav Havel’s death

The Dalai Lama remembers the former Czech president who passed away after a long illness. Author of ‘The power of the powerless’, which is being translated into Chinese, and Charter 77, he inspired Charter 08, China’s own pro-democracy manifesto and led the international protest against the illegal detention of Nobel Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.
Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – Tibet and China as a whole lost a “great friend”, a champion of “democracy” who inspired everyone, said the Dalai Lama as he spoke about the death today of Vaclav Havel, a leading figure among world’s dissidents. Havel, who was 75, died after a long illness.

Author of key texts against Soviet Communism, like ‘The power of the powerless’ published in 1978 (which is being translated in Chinese) and the famous Charter 77, a manifesto against Moscow-inspired repression, he inspired Chinese dissident and Nobel Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo who wrote Charter 08 and was sentenced to 11 years in prison for drafting and circulating this pro-democracy document.

Havel, who was the first president of post-Communist Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic, led an international protest against Liu’s detention. Even before, the Chinese dissident received his award, Havel had written an open letter to China’s leaders, calling on them to respect human rights in China and Tibet. He was also the first world leader to invite the Dalai Lama to his country as a head of state.

Informed of the deterioration of Havel’s health, the leader of Tibetan Buddhism flew to Prague in early December and spent more than an hour with a man he described as “more than a friend to me, to Tibet and to China as a whole”.

The Dalai Lama gave Havel the ‘Light of the Truth’ award for his contribution to the cause of Tibet and world democracy.
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