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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Dalai Lama says he has given up on China talks

October 26, 2008

By Ashwini Bhatia
The Associated Press
October 25, 2008

DHARMSALA, India (AP) -- The Dalai Lama said Saturday he has given up
on efforts to convince Beijing to allow greater autonomy for Tibet
under Chinese rule.

The Tibetan spiritual leader said he would now ask the Tibetan people
to decide how to take the dialogue forward.

China has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama of leading a campaign to
split Tibet from the rest of the country. The Dalai Lama has denied
the allegations, saying he is only seeking greater autonomy for the
Himalayan region to protect its unique Buddhist culture — a policy he
calls the "middle way."

"I have been sincerely pursuing the middle way approach in dealing
with China for a long time now but there hasn't been any positive
response from the Chinese side," he said in Tibetan at a public
function Saturday in Dharmsala, the north Indian town that is home to
Tibet's government-in-exile.

"As far as I'm concerned I have given up," he said in an unusually
blunt statement.

"The issue of Tibet is not the issue of the Dalai Lama alone. It is
the issue of 6 million Tibetans. I have asked the Tibetan
government-in-exile, as a true democracy in exile, to decide in
consultation with the Tibetan people the future course of action,"
the Dalai Lama said.

His speech was translated by his spokesman, Tenzin Takhla.

The spiritual leader's comments come ahead of a new round of talks
between his envoys and Chinese government officials at the end of
October. Those talks are still on track, according to Chhime R.
Chhoekyapa, another spokesman for the Dalai Lama.

Most Tibetans have supported the Dalai Lama's push for autonomy for
the region. The Tibetan Youth Congress is the only major activist
group that is advocating full independence for Tibet.

Beijing insists Tibet has belonged to China for centuries. Many
Tibetans, however, say the region was effectively an independent
nation until Chinese Communist troops invaded in 1950.

Phone calls to China's United Front Work Department, the Communist
Party agency that handles contacts with the Dalai Lama, rang
unanswered Saturday.

The Dalai Lama has been living in Dharmsala since fleeing Tibet after
an unsuccessful uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.
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