With over 600,000 people, including hundreds of Chinese, following him on networking site Twitter, the Dalai Lama has said the non-resolution of the Tibet issue is making the voices of those seeking independence of Tibet from China grow stronger.
Answering questions from his Chinese followers on Twitter, which he joined last month, the Dalai Lama said: “There are forces within our community such as the Tibetan Youth Congress who criticise our Middle Way policy and demand complete independence (for Tibet). It seems their voices are growing stronger (these days).
“We cannot blame them for this since our successive efforts to bring about a mutually beneficial solution (to the issue of Tibet) have failed to produce any positive results and, under such a situation, their viewpoint is gaining momentum (in our society).”
The Dalai Lama whose middle path approach for the last few decade has been seeking autonomy for Tibet under China, was replying to a question from a Chinese follower who wanted to know whether Tibetans will resort to violence and terrorist activities after his death.
The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner was submitted 317 questions recently by 1,558 Chinese people through renowned Chinese writer Wang Lixiong. A total of 11,705 Chinese netizens voted for 10 most important questions out of which this was listed as the most important question.
For the Dalai Lama to speak publicly and recognize the growing call within the Tibetan community both inside and outside of Tibet for independence, and not autonomy, is a strong statement about where Tibetans are these days. It’s also a good sign in that it speaks to the volume of calls for independence being able to penetrate the Dalai Lama’s inner circle (or dare I say, bubble).
What’s more, the Dalai Lama is rightly placing blame on the Chinese government for their failure to be good faith negotiating partners with the Tibetan Government in Exile. The lack of progress in these occasional dialogues only serves to solidify the desire among Tibetans for real independence; the Chinese government has shown that they are not ready and willing partners with Tibetans. What is clear is that the Dalai Lama is cognizant of the consequences of fruitless dialogues with the Chinese government. The results are not going to go in the direction that the TGIE, nor even the Chinese government, want. Delay only strengthens the resolve for independence, as it validates the critique of Rangzen (independence) supporters of the Chinese government not having any interest in finding a solution to the Tibet question. Obviously it isn’t satisfying to be right when the lives of millions of people hang in the balance, but what this all shows is that those of us who have advocated for Rangzen have accurately understood the Chinese government’s long-term strategy in their relationship with the TGIE: delay and stall. To borrow a phrase from Dennis Green, they are who we thought they are.