Mar 11, 2005

Tibet: The Dalai Lama Remains Committed to the Middle Way Approach

The Dalai Lama reassured the Chinese authorities that he will no seek independence for Tibet
The Dalai Lama, seen by Beijing as a symbol of Tibetan separatism, said today he and his followers were ready to accept that the region remains a part of China.

"I once again want to reassure the Chinese authorities that as long as I am responsible for the affairs of Tibet we remain fully committed to the Middle Way Approach of not seeking independence for Tibet and are willing to remain within the People's Republic of China," the Tibetan spiritual leader said.

The Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, made the comments in an annual statement on the 46th anniversary of the revolt.

The Nobel laureate, who has headed a Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala in the Indian hill state of Himachal Pradesh, has maintained that he only wants greater autonomy for the Tibetan people.

Analysts said his comments underlined a further softening towards China and were a fresh overture to help Beijing address the issue of Tibet.

The exiled leader, who has said China's image has been tarnished by its human rights record in Tibet, called for more understanding of Chinese concerns over the region.

"Now that our elected (exiled) political leadership is shouldering more responsibility in Tibetan affairs, I have advised them to look into the issues raised by the Chinese side...and to take steps to address or clarify them as needed."

In September last year, Lodi Gyari, a top envoy of the Dalai Lama, met Chinese officials in Beijing and said both sides had serious and extensive talks.

Direct contact between exiled Tibetans and Beijing was not established for 20 years after the failed revolt and dialogue was suspended in 1993.

Two years ago talks were quietly revived and both sides have been trying to untangle the Tibetan knot of which allowing the Dalai Lama to return under certain conditions is seen as key.

There are more than 20,000 Tibetans in Nepal, which neighbours the Chinese-ruled region. They are allowed to live in the kingdom but political activity against Beijing is banned.


Source: Reuters