Tibetans plot future after Dalai Lama admits failure
After getting no headway with their independece struggle and failing to achieve any breakthrough in the talks with China, Tibetans are at crossroad about their future. They are holding a crucial meeting of prominent exiles to decide an alternative course for the Tibetan movement. The meeting slated to go on for six-days will chart out the future course of actions.
The Dalai Lama "sincerely" fought for the middle way approach for decades but "due to non-cooperative attitude of the Chinese authorities to find a permanent solution to the vexed issue, it failed," Speaker of the Tibetan parliament-in exile Karma Choephel said addressing the conclave.
Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, based here, Samdhong Rinpoche inaugurated the conclave held amid tight security and attended by over 500 Tibetans from across the world.
The conclave is the first of its kind since 1991. The Dalai Lama has called for hundreds of Tibetans to gather in the Himalayan town of Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government in exile, to help decide on a new strategy for Tibet.
The meeting has been organised in the wake of the Dalai Lama's open admission that his drive to secure autonomy for Tibet through negotiations with the Chinese government had failed. Despite talks China made it clear that they would never accept the Dalai Lama’s demand for autonomy.
The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, called the meeting after admitting that his attempts to secure greater autonomy for the region through negotiation with the Chinese government had failed.
Before the talks began, he urged the 500 participants to consider all aspects of policy regarding China -- ensuring that the thorny issue of whether to push for full independence would be tackled.
The meeting should air "the real opinions and views of the Tibetan people through free and frank discussions," said the Dalai Lama, who has recently expressed uncharacteristic frustration over failing to win concessions from Beijing.
Many exiles feel that his campaign for "meaningful autonomy" for Tibet -- which he fled in 1959 following a failed uprising against Chinese rule -- should now be replaced by a more aggressive pro-independence stance.
"We certainly hope the cause of independence for Tibet is stronger by the end of the week," said Tsewang Rigzin, president of the influential Tibetan Youth Congress.
"I was a bit surprised when the Dalai Lama called this meeting," Rigzin said. "But it was high time. As he says, he has done everything in his power and not made progress."
The Dalai Lama, speaking earlier this month in Japan, said he accepted that his "middle path" approach had been exhausted, and that there was now "no other alternative than to ask people" about how to proceed.
The 73-year-old Nobel laureate Dalai Lama has stayed away from the November 17-22 special meeting, called by him for the third time after 1951 and 1959 to decide future course of Tibetan movement after the Chinese rejected his proposal on "genuine autonomy" following the eighth round of talks early this month, as he did not wish to influence the delegates.
The conclave constituted 15 sub-committees which will each have an official of the government-in-exile to elicit views to find options to the middle way approach.
The sub-committees comprising of members ranging from 31 to 39 will choose their own chairperson and secretary to conduct the closed-door discussion, Choephel said.
The sub-committees will submit their reports to the Kashag (Tibetan cabinet) on November 21 which would compile a comprehensive report on the last day of the conclave on November 22 and submit it to the Dalai Lama
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