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Dalai Lama Admits Followers Restless

May 28, 2008

Lack of progress with China raises questions over strategy
The Edmonton Journal (Canada)/Reuters
May 26, 2008

Tibetans are losing faith in the Dalai Lama's conciliatory "middle way" because of China's refusal to strike a deal with him over the region's future, the exiled spiritual leader said in an interview published on Monday.

Speaking to the Financial Times, the 72-year-old Nobel laureate said he hoped the Chinese government would begin serious negotiations with his representatives over greater autonomy for Tibet in a few weeks' time.

But he indicated that more radical Tibetans, who urge violent confrontation with China, were increasingly losing faith in his strategy of securing autonomy through peaceful dialogue.

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

Envoys of the Dalai Lama met Chinese officials on May 4 to discuss recent unrest in Tibet. Formal round-table talks are scheduled for the second week in June, the seventh round of dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama's representatives since 2002.

China is anxious to contain the Tibet issue ahead of the Beijing Olympics in August, and the Dalai Lama acknowledged suspicion over China's motives.

"Is this only being done for the Olympics or is it to deal with the real situation in Tibet?" he said. "I do not know."

China accuses followers of the Dalai Lama of instigating rioting in Tibet and nearby areas in March.
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