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Young waver on Dalai way

March 18, 2008

The Telegraph
Monday , March 17 , 2008

Shimla/Dharamsala, March 16: The Dalai Lama’s restrained criticism of
the Chinese crackdown in Lhasa has annoyed the Tibetan youth in India
who now say his “middle way” has become irrelevant.

The Buddhist spiritual leader today said the Beijing Olympics should not
be called off, keeping in line with the mildness of the international
reaction that has so far avoided any threats of sanctions or a Games

“The Olympics should not be called off as these Games will no doubt
greatly impact the minds of the Chinese people,” the Dalai Lama said.
“The world should, therefore, explore ways of producing a continuous
positive change inside China even after the Olympics have come to an end.”

Radical youth groups that want the Games scrapped right away reacted
with disappointment.

“The Dalai Lama has been compromising as much as he can but this has
failed to change China’s stand. So the middle way has lost sanctity and
become irrelevant,” said Tsewang Rigzin, Tibetan Youth Congress president.

The Tibetan Women’s Association too said the middle way, which it backed
till recently, had “failed so far”.

Both youth groups want an independent Tibet while the Dalai Lama today
repeated his demand for autonomy. “We want autonomy, not independence.
Everybody except Beijing knows we are not seeking independence,” he said.

He demanded a probe into the events in Lhasa, adding: “Intentionally or
unintentionally, somewhere cultural genocide is taking place.”

At Dharamsala’s main Buddhist temple, some 1,500 people, including
monks, listened to exiled Tibetan leaders’ speeches. Chinese flags were
laid out on the road outside, forcing cars and lorries to drive over them.

“We are showing solidarity for the people inside Tibet. We are their
last hope,” said Sonam Dorjee, a protester leading a hunger strike near
the Dalai Lama’s home.

The 44 protesters who resumed the “back to Tibet” March yesterday
reached Kantpur in Una district today, having covered 18km. Police had
arrested an earlier group of 100 marchers.
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