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Dalai Lama says exiled Tibetans will return if China agrees to 'meaningful autonomy'

The Associated Press, October 8, 2006

NEW DELHI, India -- 'Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday said exiled Tibetans will return home if China agrees to give the region "meaningful autonomy," and that Tibet's independence from the Communist country is not an objective of his campaign.

The Dalai Lama also said Chinese President Hu Jintao may not have enough power to decide the Tibet issue alone.
 
If Beijing allows an elected government in Tibet and gives it the power to preserve the unique culture of its people, their religion and the environment of the region, "we will return," the Tibetan leader told reporters in New Delhi.
 
An elected government in Tibet would mean two different political systems in one country, he said.
 
"In a totalitarian regime (like China), it is not easy, but it is possible."
 
His comments came in response to frequent accusations by Chinese officials that he has a hidden agenda of independence for Tibet.
 
But the Dalai Lama said he believed Tibetans will benefit in economic and material terms if Tibet remains a part of China.
 
"We will get benefit, provided we have meaningful autonomy," he said.
 
About 120,000 exiles have followed the Dalai Lama since the Buddhist leader fled Tibet in 1959 and set up an government-in-exile in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala.
 
India had been a strong supporter of a free Tibet, but has become less outspoken on the issue as its ties have grown with China.
 
Asked if he would seek a meeting with President Hu when he visits India next month, the Dalai Lama responded: "The present leadership (in China) seems to be a more collective leadership. So one person may not have the power or courage to decide."
 
He also rejected charges that he is trying to impose old practices and traditions on Tibetan people who may want to embrace modernism.
 
"Our struggle is not for restoration of the Dalai Lama institution, or any of the old system," he said, adding that he no longer holds any administrative power, even in the exiled government.
 
"I am acting like an adviser ... I have no power to sack anybody," he said.
 
 
NEW DELHI Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday said exiled Tibetans will return home if China agrees to give the region "meaningful autonomy," and that Tibet's independence from the Communist country is not an objective of his campaign.
 
The Dalai Lama also said Chinese President Hu Jintao may not have enough power to decide the Tibet issue alone.
 
If Beijing allows an elected government in Tibet and gives it the power to preserve the unique culture of its people, their religion and the environment of the region, "we will return," the Tibetan leader told reporters in New Delhi.
 
An elected government in Tibet would mean two different political systems in one country, he said.
 
"In a totalitarian regime (like China), it is not easy, but it is possible."
 
His comments came in response to frequent accusations by Chinese officials that he has a hidden agenda of independence for Tibet.
 
But the Dalai Lama said he believed Tibetans will benefit in economic and material terms if Tibet remains a part of China.
 
"We will get benefit, provided we have meaningful autonomy," he said.
 
About 120,000 exiles have followed the Dalai Lama since the Buddhist leader fled Tibet in 1959 and set up an government-in-exile in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala.
 
India had been a strong supporter of a free Tibet, but has become less outspoken on the issue as its ties have grown with China.
 
Asked if he would seek a meeting with President Hu when he visits India next month, the Dalai Lama responded: "The present leadership (in China) seems to be a more collective leadership. So one person may not have the power or courage to decide."
 
He also rejected charges that he is trying to impose old practices and traditions on Tibetan people who may want to embrace modernism.
 
"Our struggle is not for restoration of the Dalai Lama institution, or any of the old system," he said, adding that he no longer holds any administrative power, even in the exiled government.
 
"I am acting like an adviser ... I have no power to sack anybody," he said.


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