Summit of Tibetan exiles rejects 'total independence' call

Tibetan exiles have shied away from pursuing total independence from China and agreed to back the non-violent "Middle Way" policy of the Dalai Lama.

"[The] majority of views have come up supporting the Middle Way path ... which is right," the Dalai Lama, 73, said at the end of a week-long meeting of almost 600 exiles in the Himalayan town of Dharamsala. "Total independence is not practical." The Buddhist leader, revered as a god-king by Tibetans but reviled by Beijing as a dangerous splittist, also sought to quash speculation that he might step down following a spell in hospital earlier this year with abdominal pain. "There is no point, or question of my retirement," he said. "It is my moral responsibility till my death to work for the Tibetan cause."

The Dalai Lama called the meeting after the failure of eight rounds of talks with Beijing. At its conclusion he struck a sombre tone, saying the Tibetan nation was close to a "death sentence". "My trust in Chinese officials has become thinner and thinner. 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. Exiled Tibetans backed the "Middle Way" because they fear losing international support and further heightening tensions with Beijing. The decision came as a disappointment for those groups, particularly younger delegates, who had sought a shift towards an unequivocal demand for full independence.

However, Lhadon Tethorg, a pro-independence delegate and New York-based executive director of Students For A Free Tibet, said she was happy that the issue of a more aggressive approach had been discussed. "Independence is on the table now," she said. This was recognised in the meeting's communiqué, in which the Tibetans said their patience was limited.

The Tibetan issue has taken on a much greater political significance in China since protests in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, in March erupted into violence that spread to other areas of western China with Tibetan populations. Tibet's government-in-exile said more than 200 Tibetans were killed in a Chinese crackdown. Beijing said the riots mostly killed ethnic Han Chinese and were the work of gangsters sponsored by the Dalai Lama and his "clique".

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific