World News

Dalai Lama reaffirms "middle way" stance on China

DHARAMSALA, India (Reuters) - The Dalai Lama reaffirmed on Sunday the support of Tibetan exiles for his “Middle Way” approach to China, but added new policy options could be considered in the future.

Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, speaks during a function at the "Lions Club", in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala November 20, 2008. REUTERS/Abhishek Madhukar

His statement came a day after Tibetan exiles decided to stick to the “Middle Way” approach to China in a six-day meeting, after a lack of progress in autonomy talks frustrated the Dalai Lama and led him to call for a review of his stand.

“Majority of views have come up supporting the Middle Way path to the Tibetan issue ... which is right,” the Tibetan spiritual leader told a meeting of exiles in northern India.

“With regard to the meeting, I can say concrete things were not expected. However, various options have come out. This is not something we decide on the spot.”

“Total independence is not practicable,” the Dalai Lama added.

The Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way” approach abandoned the dream of an independent Tibet in favor of seeking greater autonomy within China through dialogue.

Tibetan exiles held a six-day meeting this week in the Himalayan town of Dharamsala, where the Tibetan government-in-exile is based.

“My faith is getting thinner in the Chinese government ... My trust in Chinese public is strong,” the Dalai Lama added.

Tibetan exiles said after the meeting they could start more radical protests and demand independence if China doesn’t respond to the “Middle Way.”

But they did not specify a deadline, saying a timeframe would be either made by the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan parliament or the cabinet.

The exiled government’s cabinet consulted thousands of Tibetans inside Tibet before a global conclave of exiles met this week to take a stand.

Reporting by Bappa Majumdar; Editing by Alistair Scrutton and Bill Tarrant