Dalai Lama Fears More Suppression Of Tibet

The Dalai Lama answers a question at a news conference Sunday, April 13, 2008, in Seattle. The Dalai Lama is headlining a five-day conference in Seattle featuring dozens of workshops on various subjects related to compassion. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
The Dalai Lama said Sunday Tibet cannot make any more concessions to China, but he remains committed to pursuing Tibet's right to autonomy, and called for a reduction of Chinese aggression in his former homeland.

At a news conference, the Dalai Lama said the Chinese mantra now has evolved to calling him a "splitist," but repeated that he has never called for a split from China.

"The whole world knows that the Dalai Lama is not seeking independence, nor separation," said the Dalai Lama, who is visiting Seattle for a five-day conference on compassion. "I fully committed to middle approach; further more concessions, I don't know."

The Tibetan spiritual leader acknowledged that some sympathizers to the Tibetan cause do not agree with his approach.

He told journalists gathered at a downtown Seattle hotel Sunday morning that there have been some talks between representatives from his government-in-exile and Chinese officials, but he did not elaborate.

The round-table talks with Chinese officials date back to 2002 and some progress was made, but by July 2007, talks had deteriorated, he said.

Recent protests in Tibet against five decades of Chinese rule have fueled protests that have disrupted the global torch relay for this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing. The protest is due to pass through India, where hundreds of thousands of Tibetans live, and Tibet in the next few weeks.

"Our struggle is with a few in the leadership of the People's Republic of China and not with the Chinese people," the Dalai Lama said in a statement released after the press conference. "If the present situation in Tibet continues, I am very much concerned that the Chinese government will unleash more force and increase the suppression of Tibetan people."

He added that if the Chinese stop aggression, he will advise all Tibetans to stop their protests.

The Dalai Lama continued to plead for nonviolent protest around the Olympic torch. He advocated for the Chinese government to allow foreign journalists and tourists back into Tibet. And he called for the release of those arrested.

The Chinese government has blamed the Tibetan leader of orchestrating the recent turmoil. The Dalai Lama again refuted that claim and called on the Chinese government to let an international body investigate.

"If the People's Republic of China has any basis and proof of evidence to back their allegations, they need to disclose these to the world," he said.

His address provided a window into the personal toll the recent turmoil has had on the Dalai Lama. He said he has felt anxiety and helpless at times, but he continues to try to find inner peace.