Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, has urged the Chinese central government to respond positively to the Dalai Lama’s request to visit the earthquake-hit Tibetan area of Kyegundu (Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture), and he has strongly criticized Chinese allegations of exploitation by the Tibetan government in exile in relation to the earthquake.

Speaking today on Voice of America, Lodi Gyari said: “If the Chinese leaders are able to make the far-sighted decision to allow His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit Kyegundu, then it will create unprecedented good will among Tibetans everywhere, especially Tibetans most affected by the earthquake.” Mr. Gyari said that he was in touch with the concerned officials in the People’s Republic of China about the request.

Three days after the earthquake struck on April 14, the Dalai Lama expressed publicly his eagerness to go to Kyegundu and offer spiritual comfort to those affected. He also expressed appreciation to the Chinese authorities, especially Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, for visiting Kyegundu and overseeing the relief work (www.tibet.net). According to official Chinese estimates, 2,183 people have died, 12,128 are injured, and 100,000 are homeless.

Lodi Gyari also said that it is regrettable that in such a tragic situation some people in China are deliberately creating dissension and obstructing progress towards a harmonious society by making statements that distort the facts. He referred particularly to remarks alleging that the Tibetan exile leadership was exploiting the situation by conducting fundraising in the name of a worldwide relief effort. (Phoenix TV).

“It is the moral responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leadership and Tibetans around the world to do whatever we can to help the injured and traumatized in a time of great need. Yet, anticipating that Chinese authorities would resist such an effort, the Tibetan leadership did not make any public appeal for donations until after Chairman Jia Qinglin’s April 19 statement welcoming donations from all overseas Tibetans. Only then did the Kashag urge the exile Tibetans to contribute to the relief of Tibetans in Kyegundu through an NGO established solely for this purpose by volunteers from Kyegundu that now reside in Dharamsala, India,” Gyari said.