|Al Jazeera, Nov 3, 2008|
The Dalai Lama says he has lost faith in the Chinese government and is giving up efforts to push for greater autonomy for Tibet.
Speaking during a visit to Japan on Monday, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader acknowledged that all talks on a settlement between China and Tibetan exiles have failed.
With the situation inside Tibet getting worse, he said it was now up to the Tibetan people to decide how to move forwards.
“My trust in the Chinese government has become thinner, thinner, thinner,” he said. “Suppression is increasing and I cannot pretend that everything is OK.”
“I have to accept failure. Meantime among Tibetans in recent years, our approach failed to bring positive change inside Tibet, so criticism has also increased.”
The Dalai Lama’s remarks came as his envoys began a fresh round of talks with Chinese officials in Beijing with little sign of any significant breakthrough in the offing.
The last formal talks between the two sides ended in an impasse in July, with China demanding that the Dalai Lama prove he did not support Tibetan independence or the disruption of the Beijing Olympics.
Al Jazeera’s Beijing correspondent, Tony Cheng, says the Tibetan leader’s statement marks a significant change in attitude.The Dalai Lama has until now always maintained that he was open to dialogue with the Chinese government, and that progress should be achieved through discussion with the Chinese authorities.
Cheng reported that riots in Lhasa earlier this year gave an added urgency to the process, highlighting how little movement there has been towards greater freedoms for Tibetans.
The Chinese government accuses the Dalai Lama of instigating unrest which led to the riots and of encouraging secessionist ambitions in Tibet.The 73-year-old Nobel peace laureate has called a meeting later this month of Tibetan exile groups to decide on a future strategy towards the Chinese government.
The meeting in Dharamshala in northern India will look at re-evaluating the so-called “middle path” policy with China, backed by the Dalai Lama, which espouses “meaningful autonomy” for Tibet, rather than the full independence that many younger, more radical Tibetan activists demand.
“I don’t know what will happen,” he told reporters in Japan, commenting on the prospects for the meeting.
“Their minds should be open to explore all different options … and not fixated on one issue,” he said, referring to Tibetan youth groups which advocate full independence rather than autonomy.
“Hopefully their discussions will not be emotional, but intelligent and carefully thought-out.”
The Dalai Lama has lived in exile since 1959 after he fled Tibet following a failed uprising against Chinese rule.