- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 13, 2008

SEATTLE (AP) — The Dalai Lama said today that Tibet cannot make any more concessions to China and called for a reduction of Chinese aggression in his former homeland.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader denied Chinese claims that he has called for Tibet to be split from China and that he is behind recent turmoil, saying instead that he is committed to pursuing Tibet’s right to autonomy.

“The whole world knows that the Dalai Lama is not seeking independence, nor separation,” he said at a news conference.

Recent protests in Tibet against five decades of Chinese rule have been the largest and most sustained in almost two decades and have fueled protests that have disrupted the global torch relay for this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing.

“Our struggle is with a few in the leadership of the People’s Republic of China and not with the Chinese people,” the Dalai Lama said in a statement released after the press conference. “If the present situation in Tibet continues, I am very much concerned that the Chinese government will unleash more force and increase the suppression of Tibetan people.”

He said that if the Chinese stop aggression, he would advise all Tibetans to stop their protests.

The Dalai Lama, visiting Seattle for the five-day Seeds of Compassion conference, told journalists today that there have been some talks between representatives of his government-in-exile and Chinese officials.

The talks date back to 2002 and some progress was made, but by July 2007 the discussions had deteriorated, he said. He did not elaborate.

Before the Dalai Lama’s speech to the conference yesterday, Lama Tenzin Dhonden, a Tibetan monk who spearheaded the Seeds of Compassion event, echoed his comments about the relationship between Tibet and China.

“Granting autonomy would be good for Tibet and also good for China, but autonomy requires China’s commitment to serious dialogue,” Lama Tenzin Dhonden said.

The Dalai Lama fled to India after a failed uprising in 1959 in Tibet, but he remains the religious and cultural leader of many Tibetans. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

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