In video: Tibet



 Tibetan communities under pressure

 Fighting to free Tibet

Speaking in the Indian town of Dharamsala, seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, the Dalai Lama acknowledged the growing frustrations in the Tibetan community that had led some to turn to violence.

In a speech this week marking 50 years since a failed uprising forced him to flee into exile, the Dalai Lama said Chinese rule over Tibet had turned his homeland into a "hell on Earth".

But Victor Gao, director of China's National Association of International Studies, rejected the accusation.

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Thursday, he said: "We do not have a perfect country here, but we are working very hard to change the situation and to improve the situation.

"Facts speak louder than myths. If you go to Tibet ... Tibetan people want peace and development, they want a better livelihood ... This is the truth." 

China has held several rounds of secret talks with representatives of the Dalai Lama over many years.

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But the meetings have achieved little and the government has refused to meet the Dalai Lama himself, branding him a "splittist" seeking to separate Tibet from China.

It has also blamed him for instigating last year's violent protests against Chinese rule.

The Dalai Lama has denied he is seeking outright independence for Tibet, saying instead he wants "meaningful autonomy" that will allow Tibet to preserve its religion and culture.

"The present Chinese president, Hu Jintao, emphasises the importance of a harmonious society. It's absolutely right, very important," he told Al Jazeera.

"If you look realistically, the way to promote a harmonious society is not by using force, but by trust."


A full interview with the Dalai Lama features in this week's edition of 101 East which can be seen on Thursday March 12 at 1230GMT.