The Dalai Lama has said he accepts Chinese sovereignty over Tibet and is no longer advocating independence for his homeland, but asserted that Tibet was "ruled by terror," an Indian media report said yesterday.
In an interview with the CNN-IBN TV network, the Tibetan spiritual leader claimed that the Chinese, among themselves, had different and contrasting views of Tibetan history, but added that regardless of the past he had accepted that Tibet was part of China.
"The past is past. When the People's Liberation Army came to Tibet, according to legal experts, Tibet was a de facto independent nation. Therefore, we consider it an occupied land. But that doesn't mean we are seeking independence," he said in the interview, which was published on the channel's Web site and is scheduled to be broadcast later.
"Tibet is a backward country, economically, materially. Therefore, for our own interest as far as material development is concerned, we want to remain within the People's Republic of China," he added.
The Dalai Lama's clarification comes after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's (
The Dalai Lama explained his idea of real autonomy for Tibet, mentioning that he wanted the Tibetans to control all aspects of their life, except foreign affairs and defense.
"I think many visitors to Tibet, including many Chinese, can see that Tibet is actually ruled by terror, the rule of terror. The Tibetans should have the final authority, except in foreign affairs and defense," the Dalai Lama told the channel.
"At present, on paper there's autonomy, but in reality every key position is occupied by Chinese, who have no idea of the past events, of Tibetan culture or Tibetan habits or mentality. Of course, there's no question [of understanding] the value of Tibetan spirituality," he added.
The Dalai Lama and thousands of his followers fled to India from his homeland in 1959 when Chinese communist troops cracked down on a Tibetan uprising against its occupation.
The 71-year-old leader has lived in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala with his government-in-exile since then. More than 70,000 Tibetan refugees are estimated to be living in India.
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