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Dalai Lama shores up support for talks with China by warning of failure

November 24, 2008

The Dalai Lama has seen off a challenge to his moderate "Middle Way"
diplomacy with China after warning that a confrontational approach
would lead to the failure of the Tibetan cause within 20 years.
By Rahul Bedi in New Delhi
The Telegraph (UK)
November 23, 2008

Although the 73-year-old Nobel Peace Laureate was unusually critical
of the Chinese leadership, he attacked calls for fresh approach,
centred around demands for independence.

"Total independence is not practicable" he told a conference
following week-long deliberations by nearly 600 Tibetan exiles in the
northern Indian hill town of Dharamshala. "In the next 20 years we
must be careful in our actions and planning. Otherwise there is great
danger to the Tibetan community."

"A majority of views have come up supporting the 'Middle Way' path to
the Tibetan issue which is right," the Tibetan spiritual leader told
the conclave at Dharamshala where he established a
government-in-exile in 1959 after fleeing Lhasa following a failed
uprising against Chinese occupation.

Tibetan exiles after the meeting said they could initiate more
radical protests and demand independence if China did not respond to
the leadership's overtures. But they did not indicate a deadline,
saying that would be guided by the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan
parliament-in-exile.

The exiled government's cabinet at Dharamshala consulted thousands of
Tibetans inside Tibet before a global conclave of exiles met this
past week to discuss their future strategy in dealing with China.

Exiled Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama, have recently given
conflicting signals on talks with China. "My trust in Chinese
officials has become thinner and thinner," he said. "My trust in
Chinese public is strong."

The Dalai Lama also declared he would not retire scotching
speculation regarding his future after he was hospitalised with
abdominal pains a few months ago.

"There is no point or question of retirement," he stated.

The Tibetan leader summoned the meeting asking his followers for
fresh guidance after expressing frustration with the lack of progress
in talks with China.

In March, protests in Lhasa against Chinese rule and staging the
Olympics in Beijing erupted into violence that spread to other areas
of western China with Tibetan populations.

Tibet's government-in-exile said over 200 Tibetans were killed in the
subsequent Chinese crackdown and human rights abuse was widespread.

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