Dalai Lama insists on autonomy, asserts Tibetan cause will prevail

Other News Materials 10 March 2009 10:26 (UTC +04:00)

Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, advocated autonomy for Tibet and asserted in a speech delivered Tuesday to mark the 50th anniversary of the failed uprising against Chinese rule that the cause will prevail.

"We need to look to the future and work for our mutual benefit. We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People's Republic of China," he said in India's northern hill town of Dharamsala, reported dpa.

The Dalai Lama was addressing other exiles at the main Tsuglag Khang temple at the start of events to commemorate five decades of the Tibetan diaspora.

Although dialogue with Chinese authorities has achieved no concrete result and Beijing started a brutal crackdown in Tibet last year, he said the government-in-exile will adhere to its "Middle Way" policy that renounces independence in favour of "meaningful autonomy" for the 6 million Tibetans in China.

"Whether we look at it from the global perspective or in context of events in China, there are reasons for us to hope for a quick resolution of the issue of Tibet," he said.

"The fact is that the Tibet issue is alive and the international community is taking growing interest in it is indeed an achievement. Seen from this perspective, I have no doubt that the justice of Tibet's cause will prevail, if we continue to tread the path of truth and non-violence."

Many Tibetans planned to join anti-China demonstrations across India to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their uprising.

The protests would include rallies, marches and hunger-strikes in Dharamsala, New Delhi and around other 35 settlements in India where almost 110,000 Tibetans live.

Demonstrations outside the Chinese embassy and UN offices in Delhi are also planned for the next few days.

In 1950, China enforced a long-held claim to Tibet and launched a military invasion, forcing the Tibetan leadership to sign a 17-point agreement allowing Beijing to assert control over the region.

Growing resentment against the Chinese rule saw outbreaks of armed resistance that led to a full-scale uprising in Lhasa in 1959.

On March 10, 1959 an estimated 30,000 Tibetans gathered outside the Dalai Lama's summer palace, the Norbulingka, following rumours that the Chinese were planning to abduct him.

As the People's Liberation Army closed in, Dalai Lama made a 14-day flight into exile, crossing Himalayan passes through Tibet and Nepal before he was given political asylum in India.