Chinese media compares Dalai Lama to Hitler

By Michaela Walters, March 29, 2012
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The Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles has hit out at recent comments posted online by two of China's state-run media outlets which equated Noble Prize-winner the Dalai Lama with Hitler.

The comments by an anonymous author, which were posted on China Tibet Online and carried by the official Xinhua news, came in response to the Dalai Lama's alleged advocacy of the expulsion of Han Chinese citizens from traditionally Tibetan regions.

"The remarks of the Dalai Lama remind us of the cruel Nazis during the Second World War," the article ran, adding, "How similar it is to the Holocaust committed by Hitler on the Jews!"

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, wrote in the Huffington Post: "The Dalai Lama stands for the values that the Nazis sought to destroy. We urge China Tibet Online and the Xinhua News Agency to apologise."

Despite the comments in the Chinese media, a week earlier "North Bank Suzhou Creek", a play about the 30,000 Jews sheltered in China during the Holocaust, premiered in Shanghai.

The play centres on the story of the daughter of a Jewish café owner who finds herself pursued by a Japanese official as well as a Chinese resistance fighter. Wang Jiajian, who plays the role of Song Yao, the Chinese resistance fighter, told Reuters he felt that the Jewish and Chinese people were united at that time in history because both were struggling against oppressors.

The two directors of "North Bank Suzhou Creek" claimed that it is a largely unknown story that needs to be told. The Jews that took refuge in China established a community in an impoverished part of Shanghai. They established their own theatres and schools before the Nazi's Japanese allies coerced them into living in a restricted ghetto area. One of the play's directors, Jeffrey Sichel, told Reuters that the play was "the Chinese version of 'Schindler's List'."

Last updated: 1:47pm, March 29 2012