Global Politics

Tibetan exiles gather for summit

MKM says the call for change is coming from the top: the Dalai Lama called this meeting and he feels his policy of telling China that Tibet would give up a call for independence if the Chinese merely gave Tibet greater autonomy, that hasn't gotten him anywhere. So he called 600 Tibetan exile leaders to Dharamsala and told them to work this out because he's not going to be around forever. (How do the sides break down?) It's not generationally, but there is a tendency to go that way. Younger members have been more impatient. Older Tibetans feel that asking for independence is going to put India is a difficult position if they want to maintain good diplomatic relations with China. (What form would a more confrontational approach take?) It's not just younger Tibetans asking for a more confrontational approach. One elder representative I talked to also expressed favor for such an approach. They're talking about cutting power lines, blowing up train tracks, things that destroy property but not human life. (Is there any concern that Tibetans living in China would pay the price for a more confrontational tactic?) That's one concern, and there's plenty of evidence that China would take such tactics considering what happened after the wave of protests in the Spring in Tibet. The extreme case that some people are talking about, and this is a minority, they believe there would be too many hit and run cases for the government of China to keep up. Others say those exiles underestimate the government of China.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

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