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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Dalai Lama Says He’ll Resign if Violence Escalates

March 19, 2008

The New York Times
March 19, 2008

DHARAMSALA, India — The Dalai Lama on Tuesday invited international
observers, including Chinese officials, to scour his offices here and
investigate whether he had any role in inciting the latest anti-Chinese
violence in Tibet. He also threatened to resign as leader of Tibet’s
government-in-exile in the event of spiraling bloodshed in his homeland.

He said he remained committed to only nonviolent agitation and greater
autonomy for Tibetans, not independence. He condemned the burning of
Chinese flags and attacks on Chinese property and called violence
“suicidal” for the Tibetan cause.

In a clear effort to quickly seize the higher moral ground and at the
same time poke at China’s important aspirations, he complimented Beijing
for having met three out of four conditions to be a “superpower” — he
acknowledged it has the world’s largest population, military prowess,
and a fast-developing economy.

“Fourth, moral authority, that’s lacking,” he said, and for the second
time in two days he accused Chinese officials of a “rule of terror” in
Tibet, the formerly Himalayan kingdom he fled for exile in India 49
years ago.

The Dalai Lama’s remarks to reporters on Tuesday, here in the seat of
the Tibetan exile movement, also revealed thathe has been unnerved by
the violence across the border in Tibet and by the increasingly radical
calls from Tibetan exiles in this country.

The 72-year-old spiritual leader of Lama Buddhism said he would step
down from his political post if things “get out of control.”

He said he planned to meet Wednesday with those who have vowed to march
900 miles from here to Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, and convey his
“reservations” about their effort. The march has been a source of
embarrassment to New Delhi. The first batch of marchers that set off
from here last week was arrested by Indian police; the second batch was
allowed to continue, but they are still well inside Indian territory.
The Dalai Lama chided their ambitions. “On border, some clash with
Chinese soldiers, what use that?” he said.

He acknowledged there was growing frustration and a feeling that his
“Middle Way” approach — no independence for Tibet but a large degree of
autonomy — had achieved no concrete gains. But but dismissed talk of any
other path as impractical.

“Last few days I had a sort of feeling, a tiger, of a young deer in a
tiger’s hand,” he said, in the most intimate confession during the
winding, two-hour long exchange. “Deer really can fight the tiger? Can
express. But actual fight? Our only weapon, only strength is justice,
truth. But effect of truth, justice sometimes takes longer time. Weapons
power is immediately there.”

No sooner had he finished speaking that protesters outside the gate of
his compound torched a Chinese flag, shouting “Hu Jintao Murdabad,”
which in Hindi is literally “death to Hu Jintao,” the Chinese president.
Two hours later, they burned more Chinese flags. Earlier, monks chanted
prayers and walked in thick columns through the hills. Gory photographs
were pasted across town, of Tibetans allegedly shot and killed by
Chinese forces.

The Dalai Lama said he remained open to resuming peace talks with
Chinese officials, and in an impish reference to the criticisms by
Chinese leaders, said a solution could be reached swiftly if there were
“mutual respect” and a willingness to take Tibetan grievances seriously.

There was no direct criticism of either Mr. Hu or China’s Premier Wen
Jiabao, only of local officials whom the Dalai Lama accused of creating
“artificial facts.” “Prime Minister,” he said, addressing Mr. Wen, “Come
here and investigate thoroughly.”

He went on: “Since we are not seeking independence, actually we are
helping the Chinese government to build harmonious society, happy
society and Tibet remain within the People’s Republic of China, happily.
I am helping them, if they look at the situation calmly. But so far it’s
full of suspicion, so therefore they cannot see reality.”
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