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Tibet exiles discuss China policy

By Chris Morris
BBC News, Delhi

Dalai Lama in Japan 6/11/2008
The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in Dharamsala for 50 years

Tibetan exiles have opened a week-long meeting to discuss the future of their campaign against Chinese rule in Tibet.

They have gathered in the town of Dharamsala in northern India, where the Dalai Lama lives in exile.

Protests in Tibet earlier this year and the Olympic torch relay have brought the Tibetan issue to global attention.

The Dalai Lama has said he fears his efforts to negotiate with the Chinese authorities for greater autonomy for Tibet have reached a dead end.

Now he wants this meeting of hundreds of Tibetan exiles to review all aspects of current policy towards China.

Some of the delegates gathering in Dharamsala will argue that there is no alternative but to continue to campaign for autonomy; others will argue that now is the time to call for full independence.

The need to discuss the future has been given added impetus by concern over the health of the Dalai Lama, who had to be hospitalised in August, and who had gall stone surgery last month.

China says the meeting in Dharamsala is meaningless, and the participants do not represent the people of Tibet.

But the Dalai Lama has decided now is the time to hear a wide variety of views - with no pre-determined outcome.

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