I fail to understand why everyone gives the Dalai Lama a free pass. Nobody asks him any hardball questions. Everyone seems to think he's some sort of legitimate leader on the world stage. Face it, he's the deposed despot of an incredibly backward third-world country. If he's supposed to be such a great leader, how come Tibet has been in the world's backwater for centuries?
Another hard statement: he's been responsible for the poverty and ignorance of his people for centuries. "Wait!" I hear you say. "He's only about 70, how can he be personally responsible for centuries of poverty?" Because he claims to be the 14th reincarnation of the one, true, Dalai Lama. This makes him personally responsible for centuries of repression and poverty in Tibet. But wait, if he's not responsible that means that the whole reincarnation thing was just a lie propagated by the ruling priest class to keep the multitudes under control and subservient. So it looks to me like either a) this most 'enlightened' of the world's leaders has been personally responsible for centuries of Tibetian poverty or b) he's not the same Dalai Lama that was born in the late 1300s and his whole religion is nothing more than the front to a power-play by the ruling cast. Personally I go with b) because you get to throw out the whole reincarnation thing as well.
When the National Geographic did a piece on Tibet a few years back, they concluded that the average Tibetan doesn't have any great love for their new Chinese rulers, but they sure don't want the return of the Dalai Lamas, because "At least the Chinese build roads". Well put.
A few years back the currnet Dalai Lama was quoted as saying "The Dalai Lama office was an institution created to benefit others. It is possible that it will soon have outlived its usefulness". I'll let you judge how much others benefited by comparing his palace at Lhasa with the average Tibetan house. Perhaps it was just the ruling priest class that the 'benefit others' applied to, rather than all Tibetans. My guess is that the correct translation of the above quote should have been "It's been a great scam, but the marks are starting to get wise, so let's get out of Dodge while the gettin's good."