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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?"

Tibetan Youth Restless in Dharamsala

June 15, 2008

Asian News International
June 12, 2008

Dharamsala, June 12 -- A restless young generation of Tibetans is
warning that failure to achieve a solution to the Tibetan issue is
creating a deep well of frustration, offering space for more radical
groups in coming years.

Many exiled Tibetans would like to go further than the conciliatory
"middle way" approach of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who
is pressing for autonomy within China through non-violent means. Yet,
they say it would be Beijing fault if their exiled movement turns violent.

They say that China's unwillingness to negotiate with the Dalai Lama
could lead to the creation of a militant leadership.

Some 150,000 Tibetans live in India, many of whom fled Tibet after a
failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

Many of them live in Dharamsala, where the self-proclaimed Tibetan
government-in-exile is based.

The town has been a centre of protests since a crackdown by Chinese
authorities following a wave of unrest in Tibetan areas in March and
subsequent demonstrations against the Olympic torch route around the globe.

The sharpest critic of the "middle way" conciliatory approach is the
Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), whose charter speaks of a struggle for
independence "even at the cost of one's life"- a position that many
in China use as evidence to brand the group as terrorists.

TYC vice-president Dhondup Dorjee says the chances are that someone
will mobilize the frustrations and anger of the Tibetan people to
lead a violent struggle in the coming years.

"So far we have a leader who advocates peace and non-violence but
then as I have stated, tomorrow there might be a leader who might
advocates a violent means of approach, so who knows, we cannot write
off that because there are huge sentiments, frustrations, which are
going on. So there might be a leader which (who) will try to mobilize
that. After all leadership will come from the people," Dorjee said.

He added that there were people who were willing to do anything.

For the present to balance their frustration and anger, they have
been resorting to indefinite hunger strike -- 40 to 50 days without
food and just a little pint of water.

What could happen, Dorjee says, is that an armed revolt within Tibet
might be coordinated from outside using routes and communication
channels that exiles use to keep in touch back home.

Even elderly Tibetans, such as Karma Chophel, the speaker of the
Tibetan parliament-in-exile, says the "middle way" is alienating the
Dalai Lama from the new generation.

"The middle way approach policy we have been pursuing now for over
last 30 years, it has not actually produced any tangible result, any
desired result that we were hoping for. If it is not producing a
result for so long, then it is high time that we should try to
explore other avenues too," Chophel said.

But some of the old guards warn that such adventure could prove to be
suicidal for the Tibetans and they would simply end up playing into
the hands of the Chinese.

"The young Tibetans may be losing patience, but we feel that their
thinking is absolutely wrong. If they implement their thinking on the
ground, it will be sort of a mass suicide for the Tibetan people
because the Chinese authorities - what we lack is something that they
have - is the military might. This will be the best possible excuse
for China to use the full force of their military force to totally
eliminate such elements of the Tibetan people," said Thupten Samphal,
spokesman of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Chinese officials met representatives of the Dalai Lama in May this
year, but many Tibetan community leaders said the talks were not
serious negotiations, but merely a ploy to stop the international
criticism China has recently received.

China, which says it sent troops into Tibet in 1950 to liberate it
from feudal serfdom, blames the Dalai Lama for the recent unrest and
has vilified him as a separatist bent on independence for Tibet and
disrupting the Beijing Olympics.
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