Dalai Lama seeks autonomy not independence

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Dalai Lama spoke today as he accepted the Congressional Gold Medal in front of the World's leaders and press. After spending some time fixing his formal robes he explained how despite learning English from 1947 he still felt like he was at kindergarten level but would not speak in Tibetan as it would be long and boring.

The Dalai Lama called it a great honour to receive the medal and that it would bring joy and encouragement to the Tibetan people. He accepted responsibility for his people and spoke about how he was always thinking of them and looking after their welfare. The medal would be a powerful symbol to promote peace.

He was personally touched that a monk from such humble beginnings should be awarded this honour and he regretted the tension it was causing between the United States and China.

After saying that both China and India were deserving of a role in the world's arena he went on to give more specifics on his stance with China. He claimed China would need more transparency, rule of law and more freedom of information. He showed concern at how the Chinese government would manage to integrate such a wide range of cultures without losing their diversity and was worried about Tibetans becoming a minority in Tibet.

Then he explained the future was not an independent Tibet but for an autonomous state as China could offer many economic benefits. He reiterated past comments of wanting no future political role in an independent Tibet and that he had no hidden agenda.


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