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Dalai Lama wants to quit active politics, China unimpressed.

New Delhi, March 11 -- As the Dalai Lama announced his intention to retire from active politics, the Tibetan government-in-exile on Thursday said the spiritual leader's decision could undermine its legitimacy and indicated that the transition process cannot take place immediately.

Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile Samdhong Rinpoche said the Dalai Lama wants to completely retire from politics as he feels that "political leadership should not be confined to one person and individual". Addressing a press conference minutes after the Dalai Lama delivered his annual address on the occasion of 52nd Tibetan Uprising Day, Rinpoche said in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh,

"Legitimacy would be the biggest issue before us if His Holiness's desires are fulfilled. He is the face and the Tibetan government and after that we may have any legitimacy in the eyes of the people." According to him, the political transition which the Dalai Lama wants is unlikely to happen immediately.

"Despite His Holiness's request, the Tibetans and the government-in-exile do not feel competent to lead ourselves independently without him. It is a very long and difficult process. We have to think in an innovative manner to solve the issue... We don't have ready made solutions to this issue," he told the press conference, which had a considerable presence from the international media.

He said the spiritual leader is the political and executive head of the Tibetan government-in-exile and every decision taken by it has to be approved by him. If the Dalai Lama's steps down, the political head of the government would be the Kashag, the PM or the head of the cabinet.

To a specific question, Rinpoche said the Tibetan parliament-in-exile would have to find an innovative way to "accommodate" the aspirations of the Tibetan people and the desire of the Dalai Lama. "It appears that the resolution of the His Holiness will not be passed. In that case there will be a deadlock. We are urging the Legislative to find a wise way so that people's aspirations are also met... But the issue cannot be solved in a day or two," he said.

He also said the government-in-exile has to find a way to keep the dialogue process with China on and admitted that the Dalai Lama's decision would affect the talk process to resolve the vexed Tibet issue. Rinpoche said the Dalai Lama will continue to be the spiritual leader as it does not come by appointment or by election. "It is all self-evident and it would not change."

Meanwhile, China on Thursday said the Dalai Lama was playing 'tricks' to deceive the world after the Tibetan spiritual leader announced that he would be shunning his political role. "He has often talked about retirement. We think these are his tricks to deceive the international community," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu told a media briefing in Beijing, two days after Beijing vilified the Tibetan leader calling him a 'wolf in monk's robes'.

China's reaction was sharp to the announcement made in Dharamsala in which the Dalai Lama said he would step down as political head of Tibetan government-in-exile but will remain as spiritual leader and continue to advocate 'meaningful autonomy' for Tibet.

The 75-year-old Nobel Peace Laureate, who has been at the forefront of a six-decade-long struggle for freedom of Tibetans, apparently stunned Beijing by announcing that he would hand over his "formal authority" to a "freely-elected" leader. "The Dalai Lama is a political exile under a religious cloak, now engaged in activities aimed at splitting China. He is also mastermind and political colleague of Tibetan exiles (and their) activities," Jiang said.

She termed the Tibetan government-in-exile as an 'an illegal political organization'. "No country in the world recognizes it," she said.

Significantly the Dalai Lama's announcement this comes days ahead of the third anniversary of the March 14 riots in Tibetan provincial capital Lhasa in which 18 people were killed and over 400 injured. Ahead of the anniversary, the Chinese government has already stepped up criticism against the Dalai Lama stating hat even his death will not exert any impact on the overall situation of Tibet.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) chief of Tibet Zhang Qingli described the Dalai Lama as a "wolf in monk's robes" and accused him of working to separate Tibet from China.

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Publication:Asian Tribune (India)
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Mar 11, 2011
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