BEIJING – The Dalai Lama said Sunday that the situation in his native Tibet is deteriorating and he has little faith that ongoing negotiations with the Chinese government will lead to greater autonomy for the region.
The exiled spiritual leader has followed a "middle way" approach with Beijing in which he seeks some form of autonomy that would allow Tibetans to freely practice their culture, language and religion. But lately he has grown increasingly frustrated and vocal about the lack of progress, despite the departure of two of his envoys for new talks with China last week.
"Now my faith in the Chinese government is becoming thinner, thinner, thinner," he told reporters Sunday in Tokyo.
The Dalai Lama said conditions in his homeland continue to deteriorate despite his efforts to negotiate with Beijing.
"Inside Tibet, the situation is worse," he said.
The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader is in Japan to give speeches and visit monks and children throughout the country. He has often visited Japan in the past, but rarely has official meetings with government officials, who are wary of a negative reaction from China.
A week ago at a public function in Dharmsala, India, the Dalai Lama said he had "given up" on persuading China to accept his "middle way" approach. Dharmsala is home to the self-proclaimed Tibetan government-in-exile.
The lack of progress spurred him to call a special meeting of Tibetan exile communities and political organizations due to take place later this month. It could mark a significant shift in the Tibetan strategy for engaging Beijing, which has governed the Himalayan region since Communist troops occupied it in the 1950s.
The announcement of the current talks with Beijing came after he called for that meeting.
The Dalai Lama fled to India amid a failed uprising in 1959. Tensions increased this year when demonstrations in Lhasa, Tibet's capital, turned violent and 22 people were killed, according to Beijing.
China responded with a massive crackdown in Tibet and the surrounding region in which exile groups say at least 140 people were killed and more than 1,000 were detained.