The dalai lama, winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, said that no power on Earth can quash man's yearning to be free and predicted that the leadership in China may soon change.

"Too much rigidity and ruthlessness in policy is against human nature," Tibet's exiled god-king, 54-year-old Tenzin Gyatso, said at a news conference Thursday. "I think within the next five to 10 years there will be positive changes (in China)."Soon after his award was announced, China accused the Nobel Committee of meddling in China's internal affairs. The committee said the dalai lama was given the prize for "opposing the use of violence in his struggle for the liberation of Tibet."

The 14th dalai lama also said he was impressed by the behavior of pro-democracy demonstrators in China. "In the long run, there is a tendency in human beings for genuine democracy and freedom," he said. "No force can stop it."

He called China's repression of the movement a "temporary setback."

Upon learing of the prize, the dalai lama said: "My first thought was that my friends will be overjoyed. Myself, not so much."

The dalai lama stressed that the Tibetan people must use non-violence to oppose the Chinese regime.