06/27/2013, 00.00
TIBET - CHINA
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Beijing changes course on Dalai Lama: Orders end to insults, allows public display of photos

According to some sources, the central government has granted the monks of Sichuan and Qinghai to display images of the exiled leader and banned officials from criticizing him. But AsiaNews say: "We cannot confirm or deny these reports for now, but if true, the day of the return of the Dalai Lama in Lhasa is near”.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - The Chinese central government has given permission to the Tibetan monks who live in the provinces of Qinghai and Sichuan to publically display the photos of the Dalai Lama and to talk about him in a positive way, "but only as a spiritual leader." The news was released by Radio Free Asia, citing local sources. However, some AsiaNews sources in the area say the news is "false" as "the monks have always had and displayed images" of the head of Tibetan Buddhism, but "are taken down during police visits".

According to RFA sources the official policy of heavy criticism of the Tibetan leader has also been banned.  The Dalai Lama has lived in exile since 1959, but has maintained a strong reputation in the region: "The main theme of the Chinese government was that the Dalai Lama was a 'wolf dressed in lamb's clothing' but this is no longer the case.  Communist officials should avoid putting him down, always provided that discussion remains in the religious and not political sphere. "

The AsiaNews source are not able to confirm this news: "We have not heard anything about this. Up to now, in the provinces mentioned local governments toyed with the Buddhist religious: they know that the population still loves its leader very much and so turned a blind eye to his images and tapes containing his meditations, which are heard in provincial temples".

However, "if this was true it would turnaround and the first real step towards dialogue and peace between Tibet and China. Hopefully this is a founded story, because it could mean that the day is approaching for the return of the Dalai Lama to Lhasa. " Beijing annexed Tibet in 1949, and for 10 years the current Dalai Lama lived in Potala Palace in Lhasa, the symbol of his spiritual and political authority.

However, in 1959 the repression ordered by the government increased and the future Nobel Peace Laureate fled to Dharamsala, India, along with his government currently defined as "legitimate but in exile." The policy towards China is not marked by the independence of the region: the Dalai Lama has repeatedly made it clear that he seeks "religious and cultural autonomy", but would leave the political leadership to Beijing.

 

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