The Dalai Lama has announced that he is to step down as Tibet’s political leader and delegate his responsibilities to an elected member of the Tibetan government in exile.
The 76-year old made the announcement in a speech on the anniversary of the failed 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.
He said Tibetans need a leader chosen by the people, adding the time had come for him to devolve power.
China claims sovereignty over the Himalayan region and labels the Dalai Lama a separatist.
A spokeswoman for Beijing dismissed his announcement as a “trick to deceive the international community.”
“The Dalai Lama’s government is an illegal organisation which no country in the world recognises,” she said.
Tibet’s exiled government is based in Dharamsala, northern India.
The Dalai Lama has seen himself as “semi retired” from political leadership since a 2001 change to its constitution provided for the first democratically elected prime minister, Samdhong Rinpoche.
Rinpoche however has urged the Dalai Lama to reverse his decision.