Dalai Lama rules out retirement

Spiritual leader vows to carry on as exiled Tibetans seek autonomy from China.

    The Dalai Lama has asked Tibetans to be cautious
    in realising their aspirations [AFP]

    More than 500 exiled Tibetans met in Dharamsala to review the Tibetan policy towards China.

    A majority of the delegates supported the Middle Way but also said they will push for independence if China refuses to grant Tibet autonomy within reasonable time.  The Dalai Lama urged them to be careful.

    "In the next 20 years, if we are not careful in our actions and planning, then there is great danger to the Tibetan community," he said after the meeting.

    Denying rumours

    "It is my moral responsibility till my death to work for the Tibetan cause" the Dalai Lama said on Sunday, denying rumours that he was preparing for gradual retirement.

    "We must try to think of innovative ways to sustain the Tibetan people," he said.

    Samdong Rinpoche, the prime minister of the Tibetan government in exile, told Al Jazeera that the Middle Way approach was not a failure in itself.

    "It is a very realistic policy and beneficial to the PRC [People's Republic of China] and the Tibetan people. Also it is supported by the international community, so we chose this as the most suitable policy for the moment," he said.  

    "We shall have to be patient and we shall endure our policy constantly and if not today, tomorrow they [China] will come to common sense."

    China's foreign ministry commented on the Tibetan issue last week. 

    "Our position on Tibet is clear and resolute. Any attempt to separate Tibet from China is doomed to fail," Qin Gang, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, told reporters in Beijing.

    Frustration over Chinese rule has been growing in Tibet. Uprisings held in March in Tibet and western China were quelled through violent crackdowns by the Chinese authorities, which led to widespread condemnation from from around the world.

    Tibet's struggle for autonomy has raged for centuries and was highlighted this year following protests and lobbying during the Olympic Games in Beijing.

    Chinese troops occupied Tibet in 1950 and the Dalai Lama fled the mountainous region nine years later after a failed uprising against Beijing rule.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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