The Dalai Lama threatened to resign if Chinese leaders and Tibetan radicals don’t renounce violence. At least 10 people have died since police began cracking down on Buddhist demonstrators calling for an end to Chinese rule. Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetans, for stirring up the protests. (London Times Online)
What the commentators said
You might wonder whether the “the man many Tibetans consider as their leader” can really “just throw in the towel,” said BBC News in its Who, What, Why blog. He became Dalai Lama after a special search party “discovered” him at age 3, and, according to tradition, he remains the Dalai Lama until he dies. But “what he has threatened to do, if Tibetans turn to violence, is to resign as the political head” of Tibet’s government in exile. That would be a “major statement.”
Many young Tibetans have already gone their own way, said CNN in an analysis contributed to by Christiane Amanpour. The young activists organizing “Free Tibet” marches around the world were, most of them, born in exile, and “reject the Dalai Lama's 'middle way' of seeking 'meaningful autonomy' -- not independence -- from China.” They also “call for an international boycott of the Beijing Olympics, something the Dalai Lama does not do.”
The Dalai Lama is clearly trying to “quickly seize the higher moral ground” from China, said Somini Sengupta in The New York Times (free registration). He put Chinese officials on the defensive by inviting them, and international witnesses, to search his offices for a shred of evidence he’s inciting the protests. But he’s also “unnerved by the violence” and by “the increasingly radical calls from Tibetan exiles in this country.”
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