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What power does the Dalai Lama have?

While being the head of Tibet’s government in exile, the Dalai Lama has almost no political power. He controls no territory, and no other state recognizes the government he heads. His power is contained almost entirely in his internationally recognized moral authority. His consistency and moderation in promoting not independence for Tibet but autonomy over the 57 years he has ruled are widely respected. His stance is fueled by the belief that acts arising out of impatience do not generally bring good results, and since we are all interconnected, there is no sense in resisting the Chinese, as we are all part of the same whole. This spirituality-driven approach to secular politics has frustrated many younger Tibetans who yearn to defy the Chinese, but that frustration has not put a dent in the almost universal veneration and respect that Tibetans both inside and outside of Tibet have for him.

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