• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 8:48am

Dalai Lama set to renew efforts to revive Tibetan autonomy in China

Prime minister of Tibet’s government in exile, Lobsang Sangay, expected to host a press conference after taking over the job of pushing for autonomy from the spiritual leader

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 June, 2014, 10:19am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 June, 2014, 4:37pm

The Dalai Lama and other exiled Tibetan leaders will on Thursday launch a renewed push for autonomy within China as they seek to end a wave of gruesome self-immolations against perceived oppression in their homeland by Beijing.

The leaders will meet in the northern Indian hill station of Dharamsala to kick off a media campaign promoting the “Middle Way” for peaceful autonomy for Tibetans, in a bid to pile global pressure on Beijing to revisit the issue.

The prime minister of Tibet’s government in exile, Lobsang Sangay, is expected to host a press conference, after taking over the job of pushing for autonomy from the spiritual leader.

But the Dalai Lama, who stepped down from political duties in 2011, stole the spotlight on the eve of the launch by urging China to embrace democracy in comments marking the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner offered prayers for the hundreds of people – by some estimates, more than 1,000 – who died in Beijing on June 3-4, 1989 when Communist authorities sent in troops to crush their peaceful pro-democracy protests.

“I offer prayers for those who died for freedom, democracy and human rights,” the Dalai Lama said in a statement posted on his website.

“These values are the foundation of a free and dynamic society.”

 The Buddhist leader said Beijing should embrace mainstream democracy which “will help China to gain the trust and respect of the rest of the world”.

Thursday’s launch of a website and social media pages comes after a series of self-immolations in recent years, a sign of the increasing sense of desperation among Tibetans.

Some 130 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009, with most dying of their injuries, in demonstrations against what they see as Chinese oppression in their homeland. Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama of fomenting the protests.

Beijing says its rule has brought economic development to Tibet.

US President Barack Obama and other Western leaders have called on Beijing to resume talks with the Dalai Lama’s envoys on autonomy that broke down in 2010 after making no headway.

But there are few signs of a return to the table and Beijing dismissed Thursday’s renewed push for the “Middle Way” approach, which would include handing Tibetans decision-making positions in the region.

“We advise these people to give up their attempts to separate Tibet from China,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Wednesday.

Robbie Barnett, a professor of modern Tibetan studies at Columbia University, said the “Middle Way” has made no major progress since the Dalai Lama retired from his political position, despite its backing from the US and other Western governments.

Tibetan leaders have failed to appease vocal critics within the exile community who call for Tibetans to push for total independence and who argue that Beijing will never agree to any concessions on autonomy or the return of exiles, Barnett said.

“Talks are always possible, but any positive outcome would require exceptional skill and patience on the Tibetan side, and a shift in policy direction by the Chinese side,” he said.


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This article is now closed to comments

Perhaps some of the Beijing Propaganda Minions can give us some idea of why the Masters are so adverse to providing some more autonomy. It was granted to HK and Macao. The Dalai has not suggested independence from China. Would it not be a better path than continuing to deal with separatist actions. Give them some flexibility to live as they wish as far as religion goes but accepting that they will be part of China. Why is that so insane?
ejmciii - you are 100% correct. The oppression felt by the Tibetans isn't a figment of their imagination as they are marginalized in their own homeland and flooded with Han Chinese who get all the top jobs and the list goes on. Intolerable interference with their religious freedom, including the demonising the Dalai Lama. The Chinese Government needs to review its policy towards Tibet and Xinjiang as both were promised autonomy but haven't had it and are instead colonized. We in HK have to deal with being flooded by tourists - just imagine if we only had CP members running our government. At least we still have remnants of our freedoms - an independent judiciary and the Government reluctantly accepting the CFA judgments. We're also going to hang onto our freedoms - a record turnout for the June 4 memorial in Victoria Park. HK people aren't stupid and the pathetic attempts by the pro- Chinese supporters to cast doubt on the commitment of HK to protect their rights is clearly rejected by ordinary Hongkongers.

Good luck! You must also remember being cornered by the PLA while fleeing Tibet in 1959 and if it was not for Mr. Mao's personal order not to open fire, you would not have won the Nobel peace prize after your gang committed gruesome violence in the 1960s and the 1970s (which ended in tears...and SCMP does not have a memory of that).
P Blair
If the Dalai Lama and the leaders of the Tibetan exiles really want to end the wave of gruesome self-immolations by misguided Tibetans, they should not in the first place be encouraging these pitiful and mentally sick people to commit suicide is such a ghastly way in the first place. The Dalai Lama and the leaders of the Tibetan exiles have blood on their hands. Stop such inhuman activities.
If China can accept Special Administrative Regions for Hong Kong and Macau, why not Tibet?
丹增嘉措, 曾經為你白白死去的人已經太多, 理應放手。「中外一家」之理念是根深蒂固,難以動搖。死纏爛打這種手段是僧人應該有的嗎?
because they have their own prime minister.


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