October 18, 2004
"Tibet is backward, it's a big land, quite rich in natural resources, but we completely lack the technology or expertise (to exploit them). So if we remain within China, we may get a greater benefit, provided it respects our culture and beautiful environment and gives us some kind of guarantee," he said in an interview to 'Time' magazine.
"For us, (it would mean) more modernisation," he added.
The Dalai Lama, along with his followers, had escaped to India in 1959 after China invaded Tibet. Since then, the Tibetans are demanding independence, or at the least, autonomy, for the region.
Conceding that China was in a "win-win" situation with regard to Tibet, he said, "We're not suggesting separation, (but) that Tibet becomes more prosperous within China, and that it is also in the interests of the people of China to preserve our cultural heritage."
Describing the Chinese Government as "over suspicious and very cautious", the spiritual leader reposed faith in the people of the country to change its "system" and preserve Tibetan culture.
"Many Communist and authoritarian regimes have changed, including the Soviet Union, not by force but by their own people," he said.