The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, said Friday that Beijing was changing to accept the reality. This statement comes in the face of Beijing's clarification that it was not changing its policies in Tibet.

"I am very optimistic, but we have to wait for a little longer. The new Chinese leadership seems ready now, to accept reality," the Dalai Lama told a group of reporters in Bangalore, according to the Indian newspaper Deccan Chronicle.

The Dalai Lama, who resides in the north Indian hill state of Himachal Pradesh, is currently in south India to celebrate his 78th birthday, which falls on Saturday.

The elected leader of the Tibetan government in exile, Dr. Lobsang Sangay also told reporters that the Dalai Lama's program of reaching out to Chinese students and scholars is shaping their attitudes towards Tibet.

"His Holiness' outreach to Chinese students and scholars and his teachings to Chinese Buddhist practitioners are shaping Chinese attitudes towards Tibet and Tibetans," said Lobsang Sangay.

In recent weeks, the Beijing government has loosened up its policy toward the so called "splitist Tibetans" and allowed the Dalai Lama's photographs, which were banned in Tibet till recently, to be displayed publicly.

China last week permitted the U.S. Ambassador in Beijing to visit Tibet's forbidden capital city Lhasa. The ambassador met with local Chinese authorities and urged that the area be opened up to tourists and diplomats and highlighted the importance of preserving Tibet's cultural heritage, according to the U.S. State Department.

Ambassador Gary Locke was seen taking photos with monks in the city which, were later published by the U.S. embassy in Beijing.

In an email statement to the BBC last week, the Chinese state bureau for religious affairs said there had been "no policy change," toward Tibet or the Dalai Lama.

The Chinese state bureau said that Beijing's policy was "consistent and clear" and it considered the Dalai Lama as "splitist."

"If the Dalai Lama wants to improve his relationship with the Central Government, he must really give up his stance in favour of 'Tibetan Independence' or independence in any disguised forms," the BBC cited the state bureau as saying.

Though the Beijing government has not issued any official statement of loosening up its policy in Tibet, in some regions of Tibet, authorities have verbally permitted Tibetans to revere the Dalai Lama as the head of Tibetan Buddhism.