Working for Peace
In the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, unrest broke out in Tibet in anticipation of media attention and increased repression by the Chinese government. The Dalai Lama pleaded for calm and condemned Chinese violence. This was met with frustration by many in Tibet, who considered his comments ineffective, and allegations by the Chinese that the Dalai Lama incited the violence—an accusation that he strongly denies. While the United Nations has passed several resolutions on China, calling for the respect of fundamental human rights and a cessation of human rights violations, and has expressed concern about continuing human rights violations in Tibet, little has been done to resolve the problem. In recent years, proposed resolutions to protect Tibetan human rights have been postponed or reworded to ease any pressure on the Chinese government.
In recent years, Chinese President Hu Jintao has shown no signs of moving toward peace and reconciliation with Tibet. Some say that the Chinese government is just waiting for the Dalai Lama, now 74, to die and thereby finally dispel any lingering hopes for an autonomous, democratic Tibet. In December 2008, the Dalai Lama announced his semi-retirement after having gallstone surgery.
On March 10, 2011, on the 52nd anniversary of his exile from Tibet, the Dalai Lama announced that he would give up his role as Tibet's political leader. He said the decision came from a long-held belief that the Tibetans needed a freely elected leader. A spokeswoman from the Chinese foreign ministry called his resignation "a trick."