MARCH 23rd 2008
The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet currently in exile in India, is no fool. He knows that independence for Tibet has not been thought through by Tibetans as a whole however much they resent the annexation and rule of their country by China. The Chinese leadership for their part are trapped in their historical perspective wherein control of their own, let alone Tibetan territory, has proved impossible without an uncompromising imposition of political authority.

Because the Chinese policy has been not to recognise the authority of the Dalai Lama and because Tibetan Bhuddists themselves are a divided and anrgumentative lot, the situation is far from clear and the way forward in the interests for the country and its people far from obvious. See for example:
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/11/15/1037080913832.html and http://buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=8,1581,0,0,1,0

However, I think it is a mistake for the Chinese authorities to believe or maintain that the Dalai Lama is in any way responsible for the current civil unrest in Tibet or that he wishes the Olympic Games to be disrupted. It is unfortunate that the Chinese leadership cannot meet and talk with the Dalai Lama with the aim of devising a more equitable and humane way of administering the country and giving it more autonomy. Nevertheless, those who think that Tibet is populated by non-violent contemplative, peace-loving monks and a population who could run a cohesive and secure civil society secure from exploitation from within or from external mafiosi capable of exploiting a failed state can dream on. Tibet might well find that being part of China is a good deal less terrible that the fate that might befall the country if China were to let it go.

China as usual in such affairs tells the world to mind its own business, well aware that the pretended western understanding of Asia and its peoples, particularly by journalists and politicians, is largely illusory. But East and West do meet in a the era of globalisation and in learning from each other the new world will be formed, providing we can listen instead of endlessly finding fault and extolling the exclusive merits of the lessons we in the West and they in the East have learned.

APRIL 1st 2008
China is still accusing the Dalai Lama of being behind the riots in Tibet and of backing groups planning suicide bombings. This makes no sense. I understand it will e extremely difficult for China to establish relations and a dialogue with the Dalai Lama in exile but nevertheless this is what they should do in the interests of both China and Tibet and the success of the Olympic Games.