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Dalai Lama Says Situation Has Worsened in Tibet

November 5, 2008


November 3, 2008

TOKYO (AP) -- The Dalai Lama said Monday his efforts to secure Tibetan 
autonomy from China have failed to bring positive changes and he is 
unsure whether new talks between his envoys and Beijing over the fate 
of the Himalayan region will produce any breakthroughs.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader has spoken in unusually blunt and 
pessimistic terms recently about prospects for his homeland. The 73-
year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate said Monday that the situation in 
Tibet was worsening and that criticism among Tibetans of his 
negotiating approach toward China was growing.

The Dalai Lama has followed a ''middle way'' which rejects calls for 
outright independence but seeks greater autonomy to preserve Tibet's 
unique Buddhist culture.

China, which has governed Tibet since Communist troops occupied it in 
the 1950s, has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama of leading a campaign 
to split the Himalayan region from the rest of the country.

The Dalai Lama, who fled to India amid a failed uprising against 
Chinese rule in 1959, has denied the allegations.

''The whole world knows the Dalai Lama is not seeking separation, 
except the Chinese government,'' he told a news conference in Tokyo on 
Monday, urging China's leaders to have a ''more spiritual mind'' in 
dealing with Tibetan issues.

''Things are not improving inside Tibet,'' he said. ''Our approach 
failed to bring some positive changes inside Tibet. So criticism is 
also increasing.''

On Sunday, the Dalai Lama told reporters in Tokyo that his faith in 
the Chinese government was ''becoming thinner, thinner, thinner.''

Last month, he said he had ''given up'' because there had been no 
positive response in negotiations with Beijing. He called a special 
meeting of Tibetan exile communities and political organizations later 
this month to discuss the future of their struggle.

Despite the Dalai Lama's recent comments, a new round of talks is due 
to be held between his envoys and the Chinese government, the first 
since Beijing hosted the Olympics in August.

Envoys of the spiritual leader arrived in Beijing last Thursday, but 
the Dalai Lama did not say when the talks would begin and declined to 
elaborate on them.

''At this moment, I remain silent. Furthermore, I don't know what will 
happen. I don't know,'' he said.

The last formal talks between the Dalai Lama's envoys and Chinese 
officials, the seventh since 2002, ended in an impasse in July, with 
China demanding that he prove that he did not support Tibetan 
independence or the disruption of the Beijing Olympics.

Relations have been particularly tense this year. In March, peaceful 
demonstrations against Chinese rule in Lhasa, Tibet's capital, 
exploded into violence. Beijing says 22 people were killed in the 
riots, in which hundreds of shops were torched and Chinese civilians 

China then launched a massive crackdown in Tibet and a broad swath of 
Tibetan areas in the country's western regions. Tibetan exile groups 
said at least 140 people died. More than 1,000 people were detained, 
although human rights groups say the number could be higher.
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