Dalai Lama says he may be last to hold title

London: Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has said he may be the last to hold the title and may not have a successor, media reported Wednesday.

He also said it would be better that the centuries-old tradition ceased "at the time of a popular Dalai Lama".


Dalai Lama

In an interview with the BBC's Newsnight programme, during a visit to Rome for the 14th World Summit of Nobel Laureates, the spiritual leader said whether another Dalai Lama came after him would depend on the circumstances after his death and was "up to the Tibetan people".

He said the role no longer included political responsibilities. In 2011, the Dalai Lama handed over these responsibilities to an elected leader of the Tibetan government in exile, Lobsang Sangay.

"The Dalai Lama institution will cease one day. These man-made institutions will cease," the Dalai Lama was quoted as telling the BBC.

"There is no guarantee that some stupid Dalai Lama won't come next, who will disgrace himself or herself. That would be very sad. So, much better that a centuries-old tradition should cease at the time of a quite popular Dalai Lama."

He said Britain had taken a soft stance with China over Hong Kong's recent student-led pro-democracy protests for financial reasons.

He added that the international community needed to do more to encourage democracy in China.

"China very much wants to join the mainstream world economy," he noted.

"They should be welcome, but at the same time the free world has a moral responsibility to bring China into mainstream democracy for China's own interests."

The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 after Chinese troops started cracking down on an attempted uprising in Tibet.

Beijing views the Nobel Peace Prize-winner as a "splittist", though he now advocates a "middle way" with China. He now seeks autonomy but not independence for Tibet.

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