China may open door for Dalai Lama pilgrimage: report

September 18, 2014 15:25
The Dalai Lama has expressed confidence that he will be able to return to Tibet. Photo: AFP

For the first time in his 55 years of exile, the Dalai Lama may be allowed to make a pilgrimage to Mount Wutai, a sacred Buddhist site in northeastern China's Shanxi province, reported on Thursday, citing a person with knowledge of the matter.

If true, it would represent a breakthrough in the deadlock between Beijing and the Tibetan government-in-exile, the Hong Kong Economic Journal said in a commentary.

Representatives of the two sides have held talks in undisclosed locations in Southeast Asia for the past few months, and the talks have been going well, according to, the website of New York-based Chinese newspaper Duo Wei Times.

In an interview with Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper earlier this month, the Tibetan spiritual leader, when asked whether he may ever be able to return to Tibet, said: "Yes, I am sure of that. China can no longer isolate itself, it must follow the global trend towards a democratic society.”

The two sides are currently discussing ways the Dalai Lama could return to China and his possible itinerary. One option is for the spiritual leader to return with the expressed intention of visiting the sacred mountain while avoiding any involvement in political issues, the reports said.

However, in a phone interview with the Central News Agency on Wednesday, the Dalai Lama's representative to New Delhi Tempa Tsering denied the reports, saying that there has been no formal contact between the Dalai Lama and Beijing since 2010.

The 79-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner fled to India in 1959 at the height of the Tibetan uprising against the Communist government.

As a spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama has gained the respect and admiration of world leaders.

But as China grows in economic and political power, many countries have turned their back on the exiled Tibetan leader, the HKEJ commentary said.

For example, Dalai Lama had to reschedule his visit to Mongolia in August to clear the way for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the country.

Also, South Africa, Norway, Russia and many other countries have politely declined his requests to visit for fear of offending Beijing.

But there are no eternal enemies and deadlocks in politics, the HKEJ commentary said. “The key has been placed on the negotiating table.”

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EJ Insight reporter