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Dalai Lama to step down as Tibet political leader to avoid Chinese interference

March 11, 2011 - London

The Dalai Lama is to step down as the political leader of Tibet's government-in-exile to foil Chinese interference in his succession in the years after his death, in an attempt to avoid a political vacuum.

It is understood he has given his backing to the controversial 'Karmapa Lama', the disputed head of a rival branch of Tibetan Buddhism who fled to India in 1999, to succeed him.

According to The Telegraph, Beijing dismissed the announcement as "tricks to deceive the international community."

Analysts said he was seeking to build more robust institutions and help avoid a political vacuum after his death, when Tibetans will have to identify his reincarnated successor - a process which could take years, leaving its people more vulnerable to Chinese interference.

The Dalai Lama's move needs to be ratified by the exiled government's parliament next week, but his prime minister said the Tibetan government in exile did not yet feel "competent to lead ourselves."

Anticipating resistance, the Dalai Lama said his decision to "devolve authority has nothing to do with a wish to shirk responsibility. It is to benefit Tibetans in the long run. It is not because I feel disheartened."


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