The unrest in Tibet has revealed a generational fault line within the Tibetan community – one that is likely to sharpen as the Olympics draw closer. While they affirm their respect for the Dalai Lama as a religious figure, many Tibetans say they have lost faith in his “Middle Way” of coexistence to achieve political autonomy. Impatient with the approach that has brought their cause global sympathy – and little change on the ground, young activists say they are willing to consider a much broader array of actions to press their cause.
“The middle way has been in existence for 20 years and nothing has come out of it,” Tsewang Rigzin, president of the Tibetan Youth Congress, recently told reporters.
The Tibetan Youth Congress was formed in 1970 with the Dalai Lama’s blessing. Today, it claims to have more than 30,000 active members and is one of several nongovernmental organizations that openly disagree with him, preferring radical tactics to dialogue in its drive for a separate state.