Tibet's Exile Government in New Push for 'Middle Way'

The Dalai Lama (L) with Lobsang Sangay at the launching of the Middle Way Approach campaign.

Tibet’s India-based exile government renewed its push Thursday for a “Middle Way” approach to ending the erosion of Tibetan cultural and national identity in China, urging Tibet supporters worldwide to become more familiar with the policy in order to counter Chinese “misinformation” campaigns.

The Middle Way approach to bringing about a resolution to the Tibet question proposed by exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and the Dharamsala, India-based Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) accepts Tibet’s present status as a part of China while urging greater cultural and religious freedoms for the Tibetan people

A new interactive website and other informational materials, including some available in seven different languages including Chinese, will now “make it very easy for people around the world to understand exactly what the Tibetan administration is proposing in terms of genuine autonomy within China,” exile political leader Lobsang Sangay said in a CTA statement Thursday.

“With the Middle Way Approach Campaign, we are trying to engage the international community—young people, diplomats, media, people from all walks of life across different nations—to counter the Chinese Government’s misinformation campaign about the policy,” Sangay said in the statement.

At the campaign’s launching ceremony, Sangay presented the Dalai Lama with the information package.

“We see many advantages if we can make this Middle Way policy as clear as possible,” Sangay said in Dharamsala at the start of teachings given by the Dalai Lama to a group of young Tibetans.

'Deliberate misrepresentation'

China has “deliberately misrepresented” the Middle Way proposals, Sangay said, amid suggestions by Beijing that the policy is nothing more than a disguised campaign for Tibetan independence.

“This approach calls for not splitting away from China, while at the same time not accepting Chinese repression,” Sangay said.

The CTA said the Middle Way approach refers to “‘the middle way’ between repression and separation.”

Divisions have long persisted in the Tibetan exile community over questions of how best to advance the rights and freedoms of Tibetans living in China, with some calling for a return of the independence lost when Chinese troops marched into the self-governing region in 1949.

The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India a decade after a failed national revolt against Chinese occupation, and the Chinese government has repeatedly accused exiled Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama, of stoking dissent against its rule ever since.

Talks held on Tibet’s status between envoys of the Dalai Lama and Beijing stalled in January 2010, and there has been no progress in the discussions since then.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008, with 131 Tibetans to date self-immolating to oppose Beijing’s rule and call for the Dalai Lama’s return.

Reported by Lobe Socktsang for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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