Want ‘Meaningful Autonomy’ for Tibet Within China: Dalai Lama

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama talks to the media as he arrives in Jammu on Thursday.

Jammu- Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, who arrived in Jammu from Dharamshala on Thursday stated that he was not seeking independence for Tibet, but wanted ‘meaningful autonomy’ within China.

“Not Chinese people, but some Chinese hardliners consider me a separatist. Now, more and more Chinese are realising that the Dalai Lama is not seeking independence…but meaningful autonomy within China…and to preserve Tibetan Buddhist culture,” the spiritual leader said in Jammu.

The Tibetan spiritual leader was responding to a question on China’s objection to his visit to Ladakh.

He also refuted the allegations made by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, who had spoken to the media about the ‘anti-China and separatist nature of the 14th Dalai Lama.’

The Dalai Lama also said that more and more Chinese are showing interest in Tibetan Buddhism.

“Some of the Chinese scholars have realised that Tibetan Buddhism is truly knowledge and tradition and a very scientific religion,” he said.

The remarks were made soon after the spiritual leader embarked on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, marking his first official tour outside his base in Dharamshala since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This visit is also taking place just three days before the 16th round of Corps Commander-level meetings between India and China, which according to sources is expected to start on July 17.

During his tour, the Dalai Lama is expected to visit the famous Thiksay monastery in Leh.

The Tibetan spiritual leader’s trip is likely to irk China as Beijing had recently criticized Prime Minister Modi, for extending wishes to the Dalai Lama who recently celebrated his 87th birthday, stating that India should stop using Tibet-related issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs.

The External Affairs Ministry had slammed China’s criticism and said that it has been a consistent policy of the government to treat the Dalai Lama as a guest in India.

Beijing has always had an issue with the Dalai Lama since he took shelter in India. In the 1950s, when China illegally occupied Tibet, the Tibetan Spiritual leader had to take shelter in India. The Dalai Lama tried to advocate for a mid-way negotiation with China to peacefully resolve the issue of Tibet.

Meanwhile, India and China have been engaged in a standoff since April-May 2020 over the transgressions by the Chinese Army in multiple areas including the Finger area, Galwan Valley, Hot springs, and Kongrung Nala. The situation worsened after violent clashes with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in June 2020. (KNO)

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