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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

The Fate of Tibet

November 25, 2008

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, right, confers with Samdhong
Rinpoche, Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, during a
function in Dharmsala, India, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008. A summit of
Tibetan exiles is turning into a clash of generations over the
direction of their struggle with China.
November 24, 2008

The Dalai Lama, right, confers with Samdhong Rinpoche, Prime Minister
of the Tibetan government-in-exile, in Dharmsala, India, Nov. 20, 2008. (AP)

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For decades now, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has
smiled and talked of peace and won Western hearts — and dreamed of
autonomy for Tibet.

And China has listened, intermittently, and said no, consistently.

This fall, after riots in Tibet last spring, China said no loudly --
flatly rejecting Tibetan autonomy and the Dalai Lama's smiling appeals.

For the last week, more than 500 Tibetan exiles from across the world
gathered in Dharamsala, India, to debate their way forward: whether
to stick with the Dalai Lama's peaceful "middle way," search for
autonomy within China, or to reach openly for independence. Whether
to pray, to fight, to wait, to hope.

Their path looks as steep as the Himalayas.

This hour, On Point: The Dalai Lama, China, and the fate of Tibet.

You can join the conversation. Are you still rooting for the
red-robed Buddhists and their struggle to reclaim their kingdom at
the "roof of the world"? Will that struggle outlast the Dalai Lama?
Will old Tibet simply disappear one day under a wave of Chinese
immigration and development?

-Tom Ashbrook


We're joined from Dharamsala by Tsewang Rigzin. He is president of
the Tibetan Youth Congress, an exile group that advocates full
independence from China.

 From Vancouver, we're joined by Tsering Wangdu Shakya, a Tibetan
scholar and professor at the University of British Columbia's
Institute for Asian Research. Born in Lhasa, he fled to India with
his family after the Chinese invasion. He is the author of "The
Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet Since 1947,"
which The New York Times called "the definitive history of modern Tibet."

Joining us from New York is Robbie Barnett, director of the Modern
Tibetan Studies program at Columbia University.

And from Melbourne Australia, we're joined by Cameron Stewart. An
associate editor at The Australian. He was in Tibet in early
November, one of only a handful of Western journalists to have been
in Tibet since the March riots.

Listen to the broadcast:
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