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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 expresses concern about Tibetan cause

November 20, 2009

The Associated Press (AP)
November 18, 2009

ROME -- The Dalai Lama said Wednesday there will
be a setback in the Tibetan cause when he dies,
but that he has faith in the next generation of his followers.

The 74-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader and
Nobel Peace Prize laureate has now spent 50
birthdays in India, where he heads a government
in exile. His hectic globe-trotting has been
interrupted by a series of minor health issues,
including two bouts of exhaustion. As he gets
older, there are concerns about who will lead the
Tibetan exiles and push for their cause for freedom after his death.

"At the time of my death of course there will be
a setback. There's no doubt," the Dalai Lama said
at a news conference following his appearance at
the 5th World Parliamentarians Convention on
Tibet in Rome. But, he added, a very healthy,
cultivated new generation is rising with the potential to lead the cause.

The convention also was attended by actor Richard
Gere, a Buddhist who has been active in the movement to free Tibet.

Beijing derides the Dalai Lama as a "splittist,"
saying he really wants a Tibetan nation. For
years, talks between Beijing and the Dalai Lama's
envoys have ended in stalemate.

Traditionally, the Dalai Lama's successor is a
boy born after his death, chosen by Buddhist
monks who believe the child is his reincarnation.
This means that decades may pass before the new
Dalai Lama is ready to assume the leadership and
emerge as the public voice for the next
generation of Tibetans in their struggle for freedom from China.

The Dalai Lama has said his successor could be
appointed before his death or chosen through
democratic elections. He also has said the next
Dalai Lama could be reincarnated in exile.

The Chinese government, which is officially
atheist, requires all Tibetan spiritual leaders
to receive approval from Beijing.

Fears that China will appoint a new Dalai Lama
after his death have led Tibetan leaders to
contemplate ideas that break with the
centuries-old system of choosing a child believed
to be the reincarnation of the deceased spiritual
leader. Among the suggestions have been doing
away with Dalai Lamas altogether or naming a
successor before the current leader dies.
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