China said on Thursday that the Dalai Lama was playing "tricks" on the world, after the Tibetan spiritual leader announced plans to step down as political head of the exiled Tibetan government.
"He has often talked about retirement in the past few years. I think these are his tricks to deceive the international community," foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters.
Earlier, on Thursday The Dalai Lama announced his decision to retire from active politics, saying the time had come to be succeeded by a "freely elected" leader. The 76-year-old head of the exiled Tibetan movement said he will formally propose to Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile that necessary amendments be made to reflect his decision.
"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. Now we have clearly reached the time to put this into effect," he said speaking on the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.
"During the forthcoming 11th session of the 14th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile which begins on March 14, I will formally propose that the necessary amendments be made to the Charter for Tibetans-in-Exile, reflecting my decision to devolve my formal authority to the elected leader," he said.
The Dalai Lama, who had come to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, said, "My desire to devolve authority has nothing to do with a wish to shirk responsibility. It is to benefit Tibetans in the long run. It is not because I feel disheartened."
The Nobel Peace Prize winner said he was committed to playing his part in the "just cause" of Tibet.