Throughout history The Dalai Lama has represented the Tibetan people. He is both the spiritual and political head of government. However, when China annexed Tibet in a 1949 invasion, the Dalai Lama was forced to flee to escape his impending execution. The current Dalai Lama does support violent opposition to Chinese rule, but insists that Tibetans must use mass peaceful protests to achieve their goals. Unfortunately, China takes protests very seriously and crackdowns can and have been very violent. For example, as recently as 2008, 130 Tibetan men and woman were killed by Chinese security forces after it was revealed that extremists had killed 18 Chinese civilians.
The Dalai Lama’s official stance on Tibetan independence is called the Middle Way Approach. The Middle Way Approach is a moderate political position that is supposed to protect the vital interests of both parties (Tibetans and Chinese). This path would ensure the continuation and preservation of Tibetan culture and religion while at the same time providing China with security and public order. This approach also benefits neighboring countries because it provides them with peaceful borders and international relations.
As of 2010 the Dalai Lama has not been actively pursuing independence for Tibet. He instead is hoping for greater political and religious freedom for his fellow Tibetans. His efforts to improve the status of his fellow countrymen, hit its climax when the Summer Olympic Games where held in Beijing. During this time period he traveled to many major Asian cities and repeatedly scolding China “For nearly six decades, Tibetans have had to live in a state of constant fear under Chinese repression."