Dalai Lama seeks new Tibet path

TIBET'S exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has described his 14-year strategy of seeking negotiations with China as a 'failure', and is consulting his people about what to do next.

Although he is revered by Tibetan Buddhists as a reincarnated god-king, the 59-year-old Dalai Lama yesterday showed greater signs than ever before of weariness with the struggle against China, which seized his homeland in 1950. 'If it is true that my approach is becoming a factor for demoralisation, sadness and discouragement for the people inside Tibet, then I cannot stay with that position, I cannot take that responsibility,' he said.

Dissension has broken out in the exile community over the best way to defend the interests of the 6 million Tibetans, who are in danger of being outnumbered by Chinese immigration, and support among Western nations is being eroded by the economic cost of offending Peking.

Visiting London for a religious conference, the Tibetan leader revealed yesterday that he had had no contact with the Chinese authorities since August last year. Since 1979 he had been prepared to set aside the question of independence in favour of seeking meaningful negotiations with China and concrete improvements within Tibet, but repression had increased. Since his 'middle way' had achieved nothing, he was asking Tibetans whether it should be changed. This might take six months to two years, but he was confident that the views of 'educated people' in Tibet could be canvassed.

The Dalai Lama said he was under criticism from some Tibetans for being too soft on China, and implied that the lack of response from Peking could lead to a revival of demands for independence. Radicals were demanding an armed struggle, said the Nobel Peace Prize winner, but 'so long as I have responsibility, this is out of the question. If it gets out of control, then I withdraw or resign'.

For more than 40 years China has alternately used repression and bouts of modernisation to weaken Tibetans' 'feudal' loyalty to the Dalai Lama, with limited success. But economic strength has fed Peking's confidence: visitors to Tibet report that Chinese incomers are ousting Tibetans from jobs, while karaoke bars replace demolished historical buildings. Since 1990 Peking has insisted that the Dalai Lama not only renounce demands for independence, but any claim that Tibet was independent in the past.

Observers saw the Dalai Lama's unusually stark language as an effort to keep pressure on China to negotiate, and on the West to give him more support. In Peking, however, it may be seen as a confession of weakness.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
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

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam