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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."

Is there hope beyond the negative rhetoric coming from Beijing?

February 5, 2010

Comment on China/Tibet 9th Round of Talks
Tibet Society
February 3, 2010

London; Feb 3 -- The ninth round of talks is
over. The Dalai Lama’s envoys have returned to
Dharamsala, where Special Envoy Lodi Gyari issued
a reasonable and constructive statement. In
contrast, in Beijing, Zhu Weiqun, executive
deputy head of the Communist Party's United Front
Work Department, the body that "engages" with the
envoys, held a news conference where he adopted a
tone of uncompromising rhetoric, saying relations
with the Dalai Lama was China's internal affair
so "outsiders have no right to voice any
opinions." And repeating the long held line that,
"the central government wanted the Dalai Lama to
abandon his stand to split the country, cease
separatist activities, openly admit that Tibet
was an inalienable part of China and Taiwan was
an inalienable part of China and the government
of the People's Republic of China was the only
legal government representing China."

Mr Zhu also used the opportunity to directly warn
President Obama against meeting the Dalai Lama,
suggesting that such a meeting would "damage
trust and co-operation between our two countries"
and asking, "how would that help the United
States surmount the current economic crisis?"

The language used, the threats that Obama meeting
the Dalai Lama would "seriously undermine the
political foundation of Sino-U.S. relations", the
reiteration that Beijing continues to refuse to
discuss Tibet's status with the spiritual
leader's envoys, all point to the unrelentingly
closed position the Chinese government maintains
on Tibet. That a Chinese government spokesman
feels he can come out with such patently
retrogressive statements about the Dalai Lama
such as him being "a troublemaker bent on
inciting world hatred of China for its control of
his mountainous homeland" is an indication of the
scant regard they give to world opinion. The
Olympics are over, the mask is off, and we are
increasingly seeing the Chinese government
without its PR soft focus and somehow it seems to be tacitly accepted.

As Walter Lohman, director of the Asian Studies
Center at the Heritage Foundation in America has
commented, "It’s the Chinese who are the real
outliers here. They're the only people in the
world who have a negative impression of the Dalai
Lama." How is it then that the Chinese
government’s assertion that the Dalai Lama
"continues to devote himself to anti-China
propaganda and sabotage on the international
stage," evokes no outrage or dismissal by world
government spokesmen as nonsense?

When will world governments speak up? When will
they stand by their avowed support for the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people?

Lodi Gyari said in his statement, "A major
difference between the two sides is the
conflicting perspectives on the current situation
inside Tibet. So, in order to have a common
understanding of the real situation, we suggested
a common effort to study the actual reality on
the ground, in the spirit of seeking truth from
facts. This will help both the sides to move beyond each others’ contentions."

This very honest and practical observation is one
that must surely be supported by governments and
is one which the Chinese government will find
hard to reject if there is high level
international encouragement both to develop it
and set in place mechanisms to benchmark progress.

It is more imperative than ever for President
Obama to meet the Dalai Lama, and set a practical
and positive agenda for the meeting, building on
some of the reasonable and tangible points raised
by Lodi Gyari in his statement, ones that are
pragmatic and not at all threatening to China. As
many governments keep affirming, China must
engage with the Dalai Lama’s envoys on points of
substance in order to find a mutually acceptable
solution for Tibet. As Lodi Gyari observed, "this
will ensure stability, unity and the development
of a harmonious society" and is something the
Chinese government purportedly also wants.

* * * * *
Contact: Philippa Carrick, CEO Tibet Society
07941 105485

For full text of Lodi Gyari's Statement visit


Write to MPS to ask what action the government
will take to concretely support the reasonable
and practical steps mentioned in Lodi Gyari’s
statement following the recent 9th round of talks with the Chinese government.

Also ask what tangible outcomes or progress there
have been for Tibet within the framework of the
UK government's policy of engagement as set out
in January 2009 and since the government
clarified its position on Tibet in October 2008
by recognising it to be an autonomous part of the People's Republic of China.

Write to Opposition leaders and foreign affairs
spokesmen to ask what their party’s policy will
be on Tibet and how they will support the
reasonable and practical steps mentioned in Lodi
Gyari’s statement following the recent 9th round
of talks with the Chinese government.

For information:

Take part in a worldwide campaign and send a
Losar (Tibetan New Year, which is on 14 February)
postcard to President Obama expressing hope there
will be tangible outcomes from his meeting with
the Dalai Lama. For more details visit

Further links:

10 March 2010: 51st Commemoration of Tibetan
Uprising -- join the Tibet Lobby at parliament

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