The Dalai Lama: Conciliator or Enemy? – Robert Barnett

Tibet expert Robert Barnett writes about relations between Beijing and the Dalai Lama:

After all, it’s the Dalai Lama who persuaded the vast majority of Tibetans to accept autonomy within China instead of independence. He stopped the exiles from using violence, spoke out against calls for boycotts against Beijing, and convinced them to accept a democratic constitution and the separation of politics from religion.

Still, the Dalai Lama has held out on two issues: an insistence that Tibet was historically independent, and a claim that “meaningful autonomy””allowing Tibetans to run their own cultural and economic affairs”should apply to all Tibetan-inhabited areas. Beijing says these demands are insurmountable. But if negotiations ever take place, even these could be reworked into language that would satisfy both sides. [Full text]

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