April 4, 2012

Thubten Samdup, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Office of Tibet

Thubten Samdup presented at a roundtable discussion at the Legatum Institute. Samdup said Tibetans are not looking for independence from China but for autonomy, most of all the freedom to practice their religion, speak their own language and to preserve their culture. The Dalai Lama has been committed to non-violent protest for the past 53 years, but over the past two years a worrying trend has emerged as 32 Tibetans have self-immolated. This extreme form of non-violent protest is an example of the growing frustration among Tibetan people.

Samdup said: “It would be wise for the Chinese government to reach out to the Dalai Lama. He is 77 years old and after him the Chinese may not have a partner.” The eventual death of the Dalai Lama could create factions among Tibetan people.