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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."

China to set up new office for overseas Tibetans

September 10, 2012

Dharamsala, September 10: In what is being seen as a propaganda offensive, China is soon expected to open a new office in order to “communicate with and serve” exiled Tibetans and assist them in returning back to the country.

According to a report published by the Chinese Communist Party run Global Times, the office, to be managed by the so called Tibetan Autonomous Region, will open this month.

The report, citing the Hong Kong-based Chinese language paper Ming Pao said the office will be at par with other overseas Chinese affairs offices and serve overseas Tibetans.

“There are about 150,000 Tibetans living overseas, but Tibet does not have an organ to serve them while all other provinces and autonomous regions in China have overseas Chinese affairs offices,” the report cited Ming Pao as saying.

Global Times quoted Xiong Kunxin, a professor of ethnic studies at the Minzu University of China as saying that the establishment of such an organ would be helpful to overseas Tibetans and united front work, the Communist Party office which manages relations with ethnic minorities, overseas Chinese and non-Communist Party elite.

The professor further hinted that the office will help “young” Tibetans who left with the “expectation” of meeting the Dalai Lama, but couldn’t meet him.

"These Tibetans would like to come back, but they do not have money, and they still worry that they might be arrested on return," the report quoted Xiong as saying.

“The government's new methods will definitely guide and impact overseas Tibetans, and when returned overseas Tibetans go abroad again and tell others about their personal experiences, more will return,” the professor told the Global Times.

Ming Pao in its report noted that China began to “change its thinking toward overseas Tibetan affairs and the united front work in 2009, when Chinese officials first affirmed it would carry out patriotic work with overseas Tibetans while meeting with overseas Tibetans and their relatives during the Tibetan New Year.”

Over the past few years, there have been reports of exiled Tibetans attending such new year parties hosted by Chinese embassies in a couple of countries.

Earlier this month, Ling Jihua, one of President Hu Jintao’s most trusted and notorious political fixers and head of the all-important General Office was appointed as the head of the United Front Department. His move to the office, which has held nine rounds of talks with Tibetan representatives, is being seen by many as a demotion.
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