Dalai Lama Appeals To China On drying Tibet Rivers
Author: Gavin Jones
ROME - The Dalai Lama on Wednesday appealed to China to take action to stop Tibet's glaciers melting, saying the environmental crisis was more urgent than a political solution over Tibet's future.
Attending a U.N. summit on global hunger in Rome, the exiled Buddhist leader warned rivers from Tibet's glaciers and snow-covered mountains may dry up in 15 to 20 years and asked China to study the problem together with Tibetan experts.
"A political solution (for Tibet) may take time, but that's okay, we can wait," the Dalai Lama told reporters.
"But damaging the ecology, year by year, is happening, so we really need serious studies and to make a plan to protect the environment. That is very, very important."
The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the source of many of Asia's great rivers including the Yangtze and the Mekong.
Chinese officials and envoys of the Dalai Lama have recently held eight rounds of talks over the future of Tibet but little of substance has been achieved.
The Dalai Lama, dubbed a separatist by Beijing, says he is merely seeking autonomy for his homeland, which last year erupted in riots and protests against the Chinese presence.
(Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)