The Dalai Lama has presided over an unprecedented conference of Tibetan exiles in Dharmsala, India.
HIgh on the agenda at the conference has been how to prepare for the death of the Tibetan spiritual leader.
The exiles fear that China may exploit the years while the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation is growing up to try to appoint its own rival candidate.
A plan under hot discussion is whether the Dalai Lama should appoint a regent to take charge straight after his death, such as the charismatic young Karmapa Lama. Onlookers say that the Dalai Lama appears to be grooming the younger lama for this role.
The 600 delegates also debated whether to drop the Dalai Lama’s push for "meaningful autonomy" from China, replacing it with an unequivocal demand for independence.
After debate and prayer, the conference decided not to risk Chinese anger by seeking to split away from Tibet’s powerful neighbour.
Dolma Gyari, deputy speaker of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile,said that delegates reaffirmed support for the Dalai Lama’s approach - but also said it was time to end talks with Beijing.
In his address to the exiled Tibetans, the Dalai Lama warned that they would need to tread with extreme care and prudence in the next 20 years, as they were in "great danger".