Dalai Lama Giving Up Political Role
Spiritual leader making way for elected head of exiled government
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2011 2:21 AM CST
Updated Mar 10, 2011 7:34 AM CST
Exiled Tibetan monks buy Tibetan flags ahead of the anniversary of the failed uprising that sent the Dalai Lama into exile in India.   (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
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(Newser) – The Dalai Lama is relinquishing his role as political leader of Tibet's government-in-exile to make way for an elected figure. The 75-year-old leader—speaking in India on the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule—stressed that he isn't retiring and will remain as his people's spiritual guide and continue to be active on the world stage, the BBC reports.

"As early as the 1960s, I have repeatedly stressed that Tibetans need a leader, elected freely by the Tibetan people, to whom I can devolve power," said the Dalai Lama, who escaped Tibet after the 1959 uprising. "We have clearly reached the time to put this into effect." He urged China—from which he says Tibet is only seeking autonomy, not independence—to show greater transparency and allow freedom of expression.