20 Apr 2012

Dalai Lama says he's failed to win independence

3:10 pm on 20 April 2012

Tibet's spiritual leader in exile, the 14th Dalai Lama, says he believes he has failed in his bid to win independence for his people from China.

The 76-year-old announced his retirement from politics last year, but retains his role as spiritual leader of about five-million Tibetans, the ABC reports.

For more than 50 years, he has advocated a policy of non-violence against Chinese authorities, but the Dalai Lama says he has not spoken with the Chinese for two years and he feels as if he has wasted his time.

Separately, the Dalai Lama told the BBC why he has remained quiet on the subject of 32 self-immolations over the past year by independence advocates.

Now this is very, very sensitive political issue, he says.

If I get involved in that, then the retirement from political power is meaningless. Whatever I say ... the Chinese government, they immediately manipulate.


The BBC reports that exiled Tibetan monks are growing frustrated with the Dalai Lama's handling of the self-immolations.

For more than 50 years now, the Dalai Lama has been pursuing his middle way - a policy of advocating non-violence while pursuing a programme of talks between successive Chinese governments and his representatives.

But, he admits, it has been a waste of time. There have been no talks for more than two years.

Our approach [has been] more or less failure to get some kind of cross understanding with the Chinese government and some kind of improvement inside Tibet. In that aspect [it has] completely failed, he says.

These [Chinese] leaders are very foolish, narrow minded, authoritarian sort of people, he says.

They use only their mouth. No ear, never willing to listen to others. As far as their government is concerned, they are really very, very hardened.

They do not understand what is the real Tibetan feeling.