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Jewish Journal

Dalai Lama threatens to resign if violence continues

by Brad A. Greenberg

March 18, 2008 | 9:46 am

From exile in India this morning, the spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama, threatened to step down if violent protests continued.

He said he remained committed to only nonviolent agitation and greater autonomy for Tibetans, not independence. He condemned the burning of Chinese flags and attacks on Chinese property and called violence “suicidal” for the Tibetan cause.

In a clear effort to quickly seize the higher moral ground and at the same time poke at China’s important aspirations, he complimented Beijing for having met three out of four conditions to be a “superpower” — he acknowledged it has the world’s largest population, military prowess, and a fast-developing economy.

“Fourth, moral authority, that’s lacking,” he said, and for the second time in two days he accused Chinese officials of a “rule of terror” in Tibet, the formerly Himalayan kingdom he fled for exile in India 49 years ago.

The Dalai Lama’s remarks to reporters on Tuesday, here in the seat of the Tibetan exile movement, also revealed thathe has been unnerved by the violence across the border in Tibet and by the increasingly radical calls from Tibetan exiles in this country.

The 72-year-old spiritual leader of Lama Buddhism said he would step down from his political post if things “get out of control.”

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