The Dalai Lama said he wanted to travel to China on a "pilgrimage" and to see the changes in the country, addressing hundreds of followers Friday, the anniversary of a 1959 uprising in Tibet against Chinese rule. The supreme Tibetan spiritual leader said his envoys, who recently returned from talks with officials in China , had conveyed his desire to the Chinese government.
"My envoys reiterated my wish to visit China on a pilgrimage," he said in an address to thousands of followers in Dharmsala, the seat of his government-in-exile. "As a country with a long history of Buddhism , China has many sacred pilgrim sites," he said. "As well as visiting the pilgrim sites, I hope I will be able to see for myself the changes and developments in the People's Republic of China ."
China has claimed Tibet as part of its territory for centuries, and its forces occupied the region in 1950. Branded a separatist, the Dalai Lama fled to the north Indian city of Dharmsala in 1959 where he formed a government-in-exile. He has repeatedly said he wants autonomy, not independence, for Tibet . "It is legitimate, just and reasonable demand that reflects the aspirations of Tibetans, both in and outside Tibet ," he said. "This demand is based on logic of seeing future as more important than the past."
Tibetan and Chinese officials met last month in southern China . Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, the Dalai Lama's chief representative, led a four-man team in their Feb. 15-23 trip during which the envoy said there was a growing understanding between the two sides, though fundamental differences persisted, reports the AP.
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