Tibet government-in-exile hopes China will continue talks

Dharamsala, July 6 (IANS) The Tibetan government-in-exile here on Monday expressed the hope that the Chinese leadership would continue the dialogue process with the envoys of spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

“It is our hope that the Chinese leadership will soon understand and accept the middle-way approach to a mutually beneficial solution and continue the dialogue process with the envoys of the Dalai Lama as the only way to resolve the issue of Tibet,” the Dharamsala-based Tibetan government-in-exile said in a statement on the occasion of the spiritual leader’s 80th birthday.

The cabinet, headed by democratically-elected political leader Lobsang Sangay, said the countrymen have long-standing demands for the return of the Dalai Lama to Lhasa and freedom for Tibetans.

A total of 140 Tibetans have immolated themselves since 2008 in support of the demands.

“By the grace of His Holiness and support and solidarity of Tibetans in and outside Tibet, the 14th Kashag (cabinet) has largely been able to carry out its responsibilities,” the statement said.

“The Central Tibetan Administration celebrated the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday as per Tibetan calendar on June 21. Despite restrictions, Tibetans inside Tibet also enthusiastically participated in celebrating the 80th birthday of the Dalai Lama through prayers and recitations.”

Praying for the long life of the Dalai Lama, the global face of the Tibetan movement in exile, the cabinet said “he is the life and soul of Tibetan people”.

A person’s 80th birth anniversary bears special significance and is celebrated as a milestone, according to Tibetan tradition.

Born Tenzin Gyatso on July 6, 1935, in Taktser hamlet in north-east Tibet, the Dalai Lama was recognised at the age of two as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama Thubten Gyatso.

In 1989, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his non-violent struggle for Tibet. In the face of protests by China, he was also presented the US Congressional Gold Medal in October 2007.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet after a failed uprising against the Chinese rule in 1959. India is presently home to around 100,000 Tibetans living here in exile.

The middle-path policy, followed by the spiritual leader, seeks greater autonomy for Tibet rather than complete independence. The Chinese, however, view him as a hostile element bent on seceding Tibet from China.

The Dalai Lama is currently touring the US.

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