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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."

Tibetans Losing Faith in Talks, says Dalai Lama

May 27, 2008

By Lionel Barber, Lifen Zhang and James Blitz in Nottingham, England
The Financial Times (UK)
May 25, 2008 19:04

The Dalai Lama has given a stark warning that he is losing the support of many of his followers inside Tibet because of the Chinese government’s refusal to strike a deal with him over the territory’s future.

As he continues a tour of European cities to rally support for Tibet’s autonomy from Beijing, the 72-year-old Nobel laureate has expressed hope that China will begin serious negotiations with his representatives over greater autonomy for the region in a few weeks’ time.

But in an interview in the UK with the Financial Times, he indicated that more radical Tibetans, who urge violent confrontation with China, are increasingly losing faith in his strategy of securing autonomy through peaceful dialogue.

Asked whether he was losing control over his followers, the Tibetan spiritual leader, said: "Yes, naturally. My efforts have failed to bring concrete results, so this criticism is becoming stronger and stronger."

He repeatedly rejected calls for the Tibetan cause to be pursued through violence. "We must carry forward that just cause through non-violent principles," he said. "If the violence grows out of control, then my only choice is to resign."

But he warned that in recent times, many Tibetans had been showing "clear signs of frustration" with the lack of progress he has been making in talks with the Chinese. "There are many Tibetans who have the view that our non-violent approach is not having an effect."

Next month’s meeting between the Dalai Lama’s representatives and the Chinese authorities will be critical in determining whether Beijing can contain the Tibet issue ahead of the Olympics.
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