Archbishop Sympathizes with Tibet Uprisers

NEW DELHI – Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi sympathized with the predominantly Buddhist people of Tibet, expressing "deep" anguish over the crackdown on the recent uprising.

While fully believing that China has in recent years developed and is steadily progressing on the road from communism to democracy and freedom, the archbishop urged the Chinese government to exercise restraint in dealing with the uprising.

The archbishop pleaded with the Chinese and Tibetan leaders to instantly end people's suffering by restoring peace in the region.

"No matter how grave a problem is, it is always possible to find a peaceful solution to it through dialogue," Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN) quoted him as saying.

The archbishop further noted how the Church has been instrumental in freeing the oppressed and defending the rights of minorities, adding it is appropriate to raise a voice for the Tibetans who have experienced alienation and torture.

The Beijing Olympic Games are drawing near and "the great event" is being marred by a controversy that "could easily be avoided through dialogue between the Chinese government and the Tibetan government in exile," UCAN quoted him as saying.

Meanwhile, Father Babu Joseph, a member of the Society of Divine Word and a spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, says the Church has decided to follow the Indian government's cautious approach to the situation.

Such issues, the priest told UCAN, should be handled with "great caution."

According to the church spokesperson, the Church in India treats the Tibetan issue as a problem between China and Tibet that should be sorted out bilaterally.

A four-member Chinese team has arrived in Delhi to discuss the security arrangements for the Olympic torch relay on April 17.

The Indian government has already ensured that no hindrance will be tolerated and has requested Tibetans to refrain from any demonstration.