SUHASINI HAIDAR for Hindu
Tibetans are asking for more autonomy, but not political separation, asserted Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama, and said that while he wishes to revisit Lhasa, he would prefer to live on in Dharamshala. Speaking to journalists at his home in Dharamshala on Monday, ahead of what is expected to be a gruelling series of trips around India, including visits to Sikkim, Karnataka, and Bodh Gaya in Bihar this year, the Dalai Lama repeated some of the seemingly conciliatory remarks he has made in the past. China has, however rejected these remarks, accusing the Dalai Lama who has lived in exile in India since 1959 of being a “splittist” or separatist.
“We want to have full autonomy, as a part of the People’s Republic of China. Then we can help millions of Chinese, [without] political separation, and remaining a part of the People’s Republic,” the Dalai Lama said while speaking to a small group of journalists from Delhi that included The Hindu. He added jokingly that he could then “brainwash” the Chinese people as well, in a light-hearted response to Chinese allegations, that the Tibetan Buddhist diaspora spreads “propaganda” about atrocities in Tibet by the Chinese government.
In July this year, the Dalai Lama had surprised many by announcing that he had been contacted “officially or unofficially” by the Chinese government. “In order to deal with Tibetan problems, they want to contact me. I am also ready [for talks]”, he added. While the Chinese government did not confirm any talks at present, Beijing has maintained at various points, including in 2021, that any talks it holds are for the “future of the Dalai Lama”, not the “future of Tibet”, indicating that the Dalai Lama may be allowed to return to Lhasa for a visit.
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