New Tibetan PM expects Dalai Lama to return
Associated Press writer Matthew Pennington reports:
The newly elected prime minister of Tibet's government-in-exile predicted Wednesday that the 75-year-old Dalai Lama will return during his lifetime to the homeland he fled five decades ago.
In Dharmsala, India, the Tibetan spiritual leader's exile headquarters, Harvard legal scholar Lobsang Sangay was declared on Wednesday the winner of a vote cast by tens of thousands of Tibetans around the world, after the Buddhist leader said he wanted to devolve political authority to an elected leader.
Sangay grew up as a refugee, and his father, a former monk, fought as a guerrilla against China's occupation of Tibet. Sangay told reporters in Washington he would seek to restore the freedom, dignity and identity of Tibetans.
He also promised to reach out to China and pursue the Dalai Lama's stated desire for greater autonomy for Tibetans within China.
"Tibet is under occupation. There is political repression, ethnic assimilation, economic marginalization and environmental destruction," said the 43-year-old Sangay, dressed in a smart business suit. He said that if China wanted to become a world superpower, it could not do so through economic or military might but would need to exercise moral authority in how it treats people.
Sangay urged Beijing to review its "hard-line" Tibet policy and take a "more moderate and liberal approach." He said the government-in-exile remained ready for negotiations. Nine previous rounds of talks have made no headway.