By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — The Dalai Lama has announced that he is stepping down as political leader of the Tibetan government in exile.
The 75-year-old Buddhist monk made the announcement today in Dharamsala, the northern Indian town that serves as the home of the exiled Tibetan government, in a speech marking the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese control.
The Dalai Lama said it was time to move forward with an elected political leader of the movement, but that he will remain Tibet’s spiritual leader.
The Tibetan exile parliament is expected to discuss changes at the top of the political leadership in a session scheduled to begin next week.
The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after the failed uprising against Chinese rule of the Himalayan territory.
The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate says he now supports meaningful autonomy for Tibet within China.
The Chinese government has described him as a separatist responsible for stirring up unrest in Tibet.