Dalai Lama Says He Will Resign If Violence in Tibet Continues
By Anjana Pasricha
18 March 2008
Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, says he will resign as head of the Tibetan exile administration if violence in his homeland worsens. As Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi, Chinese authorities have accused him of orchestrating the riots that gripped Tibet last week.
Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama says his only option would be to step down if the situation veers out of control in Tibet, where protests by Buddhist monks turned violent last week.
The Dalai Lama was speaking in Dharamsala in northern India, where his government-in-exile is based.
The Dalai Lama says his commitment to non-violence as a means of achieving his goal of autonomy for Tibetans has remained unchanged over the years.
"If things become out of control, violence, then what do you do? Then immediately I told, if things become out of control, then my only option is completely resign, completely resign, so same position," the Dalai Lama said.
His aides later clarified that the Dalai Lama would continue to remain the spiritual head of his people, but not lead the Tibetan-exile administration if he resigns.
The Dalai Lama has led a movement for more freedom for Tibetans since he escaped his homeland in 1959, following a failed uprising against Chinese rule.
But after five decades many younger, more radical, exiled Tibetans have become increasingly restless with his commitment to pursuing his goal in a pacifist manner. They say that has achieved no results.
The Dalai Lama continues to appeal for calm, saying "violence is against human nature." He says Tibetans and Chinese need to live side by side. At the same time he said the "movement is beyond our control," and he was not in a position to tell Tibetans living under Chinese rule to "do this or that."
The Dalai Lama once again denied Chinese accusations that he incited the recent violence in Tibet. He said Chinese authorities were welcome to come to Dharamsala and "investigate thoroughly" if he had played any role in fomenting the riots.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Tibetan exile administration, Thubten Samphel, said people in Tibet say violence flared Tuesday.
"This morning, in a place called Machu, it is a district, this district is in Gansu province there were demonstrators and they were fired upon and 19 Tibetans have been killed," Samphel said. We do not have the details."
There is no way to independently verify the information.
Tibet's government-in-exile says nearly one hundred people have died in the unrest in Tibet. China strongly denies that, and says the toll is much lower.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|