New Tibetan Leader Offers China Talks 'Anytime'

Newly elected head of the Tibetan government-in-exile Lobsang Sangay talks to the media after meeting with Tibetan activists on a hunger strike against blockade of the Kirti monastery in Sichuan province by Chinese forces, in New Delhi, India, Thursday, M

The incoming head of the exiled Tibetan government says his administration is ready to talk with China "anytime, anywhere," and says he will seek autonomy for Tibet under Chinese rule.

Lobsang Sangay spoke Thursday in New Delhi, making clear he will follow the "middle path" policy of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, who calls for regional autonomy.

Sangay was elected prime minister of the government in exile earlier this year, taking over a political role the aging Dalai Lama decided to give up. The Harvard University legal scholar takes up his office in August in the Indian city of Dharmsala.

The government in exile has held nine rounds of talks with the Beijing government, but has made no progress toward reaching an agreement with China.

China seized control of Tibet in 1950, and the Dalai Lama fled his homeland in 1959. Beijing says he is intent on creating an independent Tibet.

Many Tibetans say China discriminates against them and wants to suppress their cultural and religious traditions. China denies that and says its policies have helped bring new prosperity to the impoverished region.