Dalai Lama has given up
It is always hard to tell what is for show and what is real in the long, drawn out tragedy of Sino-Tibet relations but the Dalai Lama’s announcement that he has had enough (see here) and is giving up on talks with China is an important moment, even if it is partially symbolic. It has also lead to renewed speculation about whether he might be retiring or about to step down. Normally, you only leave that job when you die, but he has in the past threatened to set up an election or other novel means to find a successor, a clear attempt to avoid a repetition of what happened to the Panchen Lama, the second ranking monk in Tibet’s hierarchy.
DHARMSALA, India — The Dalai Lama said Saturday he has given up on efforts to convince Beijing to allow greater autonomy for Tibet under Chinese rule.
The Tibetan spiritual leader said he would now ask the Tibetan people to decide how to take the dialogue forward.
China has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama of leading a campaign to split Tibet from the rest of the country. The Dalai Lama has denied the allegations, saying he is only seeking greater autonomy for the Himalayan region to protect its unique Buddhist culture _ a policy he calls the “middle way.”
“I have been sincerely pursuing the middle way approach in dealing with China for a long time now but there hasn’t been any positive response from the Chinese side,” he said in Tibetan at a public function Saturday in Dharmsala, the north Indian town that is home to Tibet’s government-in-exile.
“As far as I’m concerned I have given up,” he said in an unusually blunt statement.
“The issue of Tibet is not the issue of the Dalai Lama alone. It is the issue of 6 million Tibetans. I have asked the Tibetan government-in-exile, as a true democracy in exile, to decide in consultation with the Tibetan people the future course of action,” the Dalai Lama said.
Most Tibetans have supported the Dalai Lama’s push for autonomy for the region. The Tibetan Youth Congress is the only major activist group that is advocating full independence for Tibet.
I have followed and written about the Dalai Lama’s efforts to mend relations with China. This ending is sad but inevitable. He will have to bow out gracefully, hand over the reins to the more ambitious, and often volatile, Tibetan Youth Conference. Unfortunately, China will have the option to declare Tibet a rogue provence and it’s activists ‘terrorists’, like they did for other regions within their own country. See my articles leading up to this event.