The Pain of Tibet

The Dalai Lama's "middle way" isn't working. It's time for him to make a last, desperate ploy

Daniel Rosenthal / Laif / Redux

The Dalai Lama is tiring of fruitless effors at negotiating with Beijing.

I first met Dorje in front of the gates of the Longwu Monastery in Tongren, a town in China's far-western Qinghai province. Like the majority there, he was an ethnic Tibetan, a nomadic yak breeder in town on a pilgrimage. While friendly toward foreigners, Dorje nodded at the video cameras mounted above the road and said we'd better speak somewhere private. It's a grim commentary on the iron grip China maintains on Tibetan areas of the country that even a yak herdsman knows to be wary of video surveillance. In a sheltered corner of the monastery's walls, Dorje enumerated the wrongs...

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