WASHINGTON — The Dalai Lama voiced confidence Monday that Tibetans supported his “Middle Way” of seeking greater rights but staying under China’s rule, despite criticism from some young exiles.
The Dalai Lama, who announced earlier this year that he was retiring from political duties, said that it was up to the newly empowered Tibetan government-in-exile in India to assess his “Middle Way.”
“The younger generation criticizes our way of approach. That is understandable,” the 76-year-old monk told Radio Free Asia on a visit to the broadcaster’s Washington headquarters.
But he said that based on feedback from people inside Tibet, “all of them fully support our approach of not seeking separation.”
“Because we strictly follow (the) non-violence principle,” he said, “large numbers of Chinese Han brothers and sisters, intellectuals and some students fully support, fully appreciate and show solidarity with us.”
The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet for India in 1959 during an abortive uprising, has repeatedly said he opposes violence and wants to work with China to allow greater freedoms to the predominantly Buddhist people.
China, however, accuses him of being a “splittist” and protests the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s frequent travels overseas.
The White House has not said if President Barack Obama will meet the Dalai Lama, who is in Washington until the end of the week to lead a Buddhist ritual known as a Kalachakra.
While the Dalai Lama is nearly universally revered by Tibetan exiles, some activists among a younger generation raised in India or elsewhere have called for a more forceful response to China.