Dalai Lama is undisputed leader, Tibetans tell China

March 10th, 2009 - 1:44 pm ICT by IANS  

By Jaideep Sarin
Dharamsala, March 10 (IANS) The Tibetan cabinet-in-exile Tuesday challenged the leadership in China to test the popularity of the Dalai Lama in Tibet, saying he was the undisputed leader of all Tibetans.

“The Kashag would like to reiterate to the leadership of China that the Dalai Lama is the supreme leader and the sole spokesperson of the six million Tibetans,” the cabinet-in-exile said in a statement on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising Day.

The Kashag said the “insensitive and foolishly stubborn” Chinese leadership was not ready to accept this fact about the Dalai Lama’s popularity.

It demanded that Tibetans inside Tibet be freely allowed to express their preference. China would then realise that the Dalai Lama alone represented all Tibetans.

The Dalai Lama, 73, has been living in exile at his Himalayan abode at Mcleodganj near this Himachal Pradesh town since escaping from Lhasa to India in 1959. Under Chinese laws, even keeping his photograph is a crime in Tibet.

The Kashag is headed by the Tibetan Kalon Tripa (prime minister in exile) Samdhong Rinpoche.

“According to civilized behaviour, it is the public who choose their representatives instead of being forced to accept one. If the Tibetans in Tibet are given an opportunity to speak up freely without fear of retribution, the Chinese authorities would certainly get a clear picture as to who is the leader who can represent the six million Tibetans,” the statement said.

“Although, Tibetans from all the parts of Tibet have made, despite having no freedom, this very clear since March last year, the Chinese leaders have been insensitive and foolishly stubborn to accept this. This cannot fool the public,” it added.

China accuses the Dalai Lama of being a ’separatist’ trying to break Tibet from China. But the Dalai Lama has maintained that he is only seeking genuine autonomy for Tibet under Chinese rule.

The Kashag regretted that China had rejected outright a memorandum on genuine autonomy submitted to it during the eighth round of talks between China and envoys of the Dalai Lama in October last year.

“The document was prepared as per provisions of the Chinese constitution. If the Chinese cannot accept their own constitution, we cannot help.”

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