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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Dalai Lama’s envoys to hold parleys with China again

September 26, 2008

Dharamsala, Sep 25 (IANS) Envoys of exiled Tibetan spiritual guru, the
Dalai Lama, will hold parleys with the Chinese government again next
month, Tibet’s government-in-exile said Thursday.It will be the eighth
round of talks between the Dalai Lama’s envoys and the Chinese that
resumed in September 2002.

“Our main objective is to settle the vexed issue of Tibet amicably with
the Chinese leadership so that our brothers across the border could have
freedom to preserve their cultural identity,” Thubten Samphel, a
spokesman of the government-in-exile, told IANS.

The Dalai Lama along with many of his supporters fled Tibet and took
refuge in this Indian hill station when Chinese troops moved in and took
control of Lhasa in 1959.

Although the Chinese leadership considers that the issue of Tibet is
only about the Dalai Lama, the government-in-exile clarifies that the
issue at stake is the well-being of six million Tibetans only.

Samphel said the last round of negotiations with the Chinese in the
month of July this year was not fruitful as they were preoccupied with
the Olympics.

Special envoys Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, who
participated in the last round of talks in China, had also said: “The
Chinese are obsessed with the Olympics. There is no need to hold the
next round of talks before the Games.”

Samphel clarified that on earlier occasions “there were intensive and
frank talks between the representatives of the spiritual guru and the
Chinese. This gives us (Tibetans) the hope that the issue will be
settled amicably”.

But political observers said: “China also wanted to continue the
dialogue process, though at a slow pace, because it fears that once the
Dalai Lama, who is still respected by a majority of Tibetans as a god,
dies in exile, there will be a vacuum of leadership.

“This will bolster morale of the Tibetans who are unhappy with the
‘middle-way’ approach of the Nobel laureate that advocates autonomy for
Tibet. There are chances that the Tibetans, especially the youth, may
demand full independence for Tibet”.

Meanwhile, the three-day meeting of the task force on negotiations on
Tibet issue concluded here Wednesday.

The task force, set up by the Dalai Lama, chalked out the strategy for
the next round of talks.

Prime Minister of the government-in-exile Samdhong Rinpoche said:
“During the task force meeting we reviewed the outcome of the
negotiations held earlier with them (Chinese). Now the left-over issues
will be taken up on a mutually accepted dates and place.”

“This time (during the eight round of talks) we have made up our mind to
candidly convey to our counterparts (Chinese) that in the absence of
serious and sincere commitment on their part, the continuation of the
present dialogue process would serve no purpose,” a minister in the
government-in-exile said, requesting anonymity.
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