Two Mongolian media organizations have listed the November visit by the Dalai Lama among the ten most important events that took place in Mongolia in 2002.
The official Mongolian news agency, Montsame, and a daily newspaper, Zuunii Medee, reported on December 25, 2002, that “The 14th Dalai Lama paid a three-day visit to Mongolia in November. During his visit, Dalai Lama Danzanjamts [Mongolian spelling of the name Tenzin Gyatso] conducted a religious ceremony at the Gandantegchinlen monastery and held a meeting with students. The Dalai Lama last toured to Mongolia seven years ago.”
The other nine important events were:
- The privatization of the Trade and Development Bank;
- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s visit to Mongolia in October;
- “Mongolia: Investors Forum-2002” in Ulaanbaatar in September 2002, organized by the Mongolian government together with the World Bank;
- Passage of the land ownership law;
- Success of Mongolian athletes at international competitions and world championships;
- Mongolia’s communication system reaching the international standard;
- The 840th birth anniversary of Chinggis Khan on May 3;
- Forum of Mongolian students, who study in foreign countries, held in Ulaanbaatar in August; and
- Natural calamity in Mongolia, such as drought, and fire in the past three years.
The three-day visit by the Dalai Lama to Mongolia began on November 5, 2002. BBC reported on November 5 that “Hundreds of Buddhists have greeted the Dalai Lama on his first visit to Mongolia for seven years.”
Thousands of Buddhists jammed a convention center on November 6 to hear the Dalai Lama. Hundreds more listened on loudspeakers outside the new Ulan Bator Palace.
China criticized the Dalai Lama’s visit and briefly suspended train services with Mongolia. The Associated Press (AP) reported on November 6 that many Mongolians resented what they regarded as Chinese interference.
“It’s extremely wrong that China gave him problems,” AP quoted Batsukh, a Buddhist in the crowd outside a convention center.
“He wanted to come to Mongolia, and that has nothing to do with China,” said Batsukh. “He has so many believers here. That’s why he had to come.”