Tweeting Dalai Lama says voices for Tibetan independence growing stronger

Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), Aug 15 (Calcutta Tube) With over 600,000 people, including hundreds of Chinese, following him on networking site Twitter, the Dalai Lama has said the non-resolution of the Tibet issue is making the voices of those seeking independence of Tibet from China grow stronger.

Answering questions from his Chinese followers on Twitter, which he joined last month, the Dalai Lama said: ‘There are forces within our community such as the Tibetan Youth Congress who criticise our Middle Way policy and demand complete independence (for Tibet). It seems their voices are growing stronger (these days).

‘We cannot blame them for this since our successive efforts to bring about a mutually beneficial solution (to the issue of Tibet) have failed to produce any positive results and, under such a situation, their viewpoint is gaining momentum (in our society).’

The Dalai Lama, whose middle path approach for the last few decade has been seeking autonomy for Tibet under China, was replying to a question from a Chinese follower who wanted to know whether Tibetans will resort to violence and terrorist activities after his death.

The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner was submitted 317 questions recently by 1,558 Chinese people through renowned Chinese writer Wang Lixiong. A total of 11,705 Chinese netizens voted for 10 most important questions out of which this was listed as the most important question.

The Dalai Lama, who has been living in exile in India for over five decades after he fled Lhasa in 1959, replied to the questions from his residence in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh.

But the Dalai Lama, who is regarded as an apostle of peace internationally, allayed any fears of violence from Tibetans, saying: ‘However, it is very evident that 99 percent of Tibetan people have complete faith in the non-violent path (that we have chosen) and so you should not worry (about their ever resorting to violence).’

The Dalai Lama said after his death, the Tibetan religious and political leadership in exile is capable of assuming leadership roles.

‘There are a growing number of young lamas between the ages of 20 and 30 who are currently pursuing studies in the various religious schools of our community who are capable of taking up greater leadership roles in the spiritual field. In the political field, for the last more than 10 years I have been in a state of semi-retirement. All the important political decisions are being taken by the elected political leadership and this will continue to do so in the future as well,’ he said.

The replies to the questions and apprehensions of Chinese people on the Tibetan issue is part of a new strategy adopted by the Tibetan leadership living in exile in India and other countries to reach out to common people in China so that the issue of Tibet gets resolved.

Explaining that Tibetan and Chinese people could co-exist in the Tibet region, the Dalai Lama told another questioner: ‘It is altogether a different matter if we are seeking separation or independence, but we are not. We are simply saying that we be granted the freedom to preserve our own religion, culture and language within the larger framework of the People’s Republic of China.’

He added that in future if the opportunity arises, Tibetans living inside Tibet (about six million) should take the responsibility of engaging in discussion with the Chinese authorities on the issue of Tibet.

‘We are hoping that we are able to establish a big family of friendship between the Chinese and Tibetan peoples based on over thousand years of relations with each other. We also hope – and even pray – that the People’s Republic of China flourishes with all its nationalities enjoying equality in a spirit of one big family.’

Several questions, including the controversy within the Tibetan community over the Shugden Dorjee cult, the violent protests in Lhasa and other towns in the Tibet region in March 2008, relations between Tibetan and Chinese people and the future of Tibet, were posed to the Dalai Lama to which he gave detailed replies.

The Dalai Lama, in one of the replies, even offered to ‘apologize’ to the Chinese people who were targeted during violence inside Tibet in March 2008.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at jaideep.s@ians.in)

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