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Dalai Lama offers to quit on Tibet issue

The Dalai Lama says that he would resign as Tibetan leader if the situation veers out of control in Tibet. Hu addresses NPC | Tibet crackdown sparks protests: Pics | Tibet burns: Pics | Security tight following Tibetan riots: Video
Reuters | By Jonathan Allen, Dharamsala
UPDATED ON MAR 18, 2008 05:42 PM IST

The Dalai Lama said on Tuesday that he would resign as Tibetan leader if the situation veers out of control in Tibet and denied accusations from China that he was inciting riots.

"If things become out of control then my only option is to completely resign," Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, told a news conference at his base of Dharamsala in northern India.

On Tuesday, China's premier Wen Jiabao accused the Dalai Lama of orchestrating riots in which dozens may have died and said his followers were trying to "incite sabotage" of Beijing's August Olympic Games.

The Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in India in 1959, denied Chinese accusations that he was masterminding protests and said he was against violence, whether from Chinese or Tibetans.

"Even 1,000 Tibetans sacrificed their life, not much help," he told reporters. "Please help stop violence from Chinese side and also from Tibetan side."

The Dalai Lama said he had nothing to hide from the Chinese.

"Investigate thoroughly, so if you want to start investigating from here you are most welcome," he said. "Check our various offices.

"They can examine my pulse, my urine, my stool, everything," he said with a laugh, miming as he talked.

The Nobel peace laureate reaffirmed that he wanted autonomy for Tibet within China but not outright independence.

Monk-led anti-China protests in Lhasa, the biggest in almost two decades, turned ugly on Friday, weighing uncomfortably on the Communist leadership anxious to polish its image in the build-up to the Olympic Games.

India hosts the Dalai Lama in the India city of Dharamsala, seat of the self-proclaimed Tibetan government-in-exile and the scene of daily protests in the past week.

More than 2,000 Tibetans gathered on Tuesday from all over northeastern India for their biggest rally in the area in years, demanding the United Nations investigate reports of killings of protesters in China.

Led by hundreds of shaven-headed Buddhist monks in maroon robes, some as young as eight, they waved Tibetan flags and marched through the streets of Siliguri, chanting: "We want justice, we want freedom".

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Alistair Scrutton)

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