Sunday, March 14, 2010

Café looks for 'common ground' between Tibetans and Chinese

It's called Common Ground Café and true to its name it aims to serve as a bridge between the Tibetans and the Chinese - spicing things up with Taiwanese, Tibetan and Chinese cuisine and cups of coffee and tea!
Just like the 100-metre uphill walk from Mcleodganj's congested main square on a completely broken road, this initiative to provide a common platform to the Chinese and Tibetans in exile is not going to be easy either.
"By providing a gathering point in a comfortable atmosphere, the cafe has been able to provide a platform for informal exchange between Chinese and Tibetan people," Wen-Yan King, a US national of Taiwanese origin who is the force behind it, told a visiting IANS correspondent.

Though the initiative was first launched in a low-key manner in June last year, the café has re-opened recently since Wen returned after her travel to other countries.

The café, which is run from a leased bright yellow-coloured building, offers seating space for about 40-50 people, including a 'baithak' (low-level seating area), with the snow-capped mighty Dhauladhar mountains of the Himalayas in the backdrop.

It has a few books, ranging from Chinese learning to Tibetan culture to civil wars and genocide. 'Talk Tibet' events are also hosted here.

Wen says Mcleodganj near Dharamsala, which is the abode-in-exile of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama for the last over four decades, is the best suited place for a café like 'Common Ground'.
"Home to the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan government-in-exile and a myriad of Tibetan NGOs, Dharamsala is the beating heart of the Tibetan freedom struggle since civil society is not permitted in the People's Republic of China," Wen told IANS.

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