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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

FACTBOX: Major points of contention on Tibet

April 27, 2008

Fri Apr 25, 2008

(Reuters) - Following are some of the major issues over Tibet which
divide China's government and many of its people from their critics in
the controversy around this year's Beijing Olympics:

ECONOMY

- China says its troops liberated Tibet in 1950 from a feudal serfdom.
Since then, it has provided massive subsidies to help develop the remote
region, whose economy has been outpacing national growth and expanding
at rates of more than 12 percent annually over the past five years.

- Critics say Tibetans have been left out of the boom, creating an
ethnic wealth gap between Han Chinese and Tibetans. They say Tibetans,
many of whom subsist on herding and farming, lack the skills to
participate in the industrialization drive.

RELIGION

- China's ruling Communist Party is officially atheist but its
constitution guarantees freedom of religion, though under the auspices
of the Party. China says Buddhism has flourished in Tibet since the
Cultural Revolution, when many monasteries were destroyed and monks
persecuted.

- Monks complain their religious practice is constrained by "patriotic
education" in the monasteries and say they are forced to denounce the
Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism whom China
sees as a traitor.

DEMOGRAPHICS

- Critics of China's policies in Tibet say it is being flooded with Han
Chinese who could swamp its distinctive culture, particularly since the
opening of a railway link to the region. The Dalai Lama has talked of
possible "cultural genocide".

- China has angrily dismissed the accusation, citing great efforts to
preserve Tibetan culture, It says only a small number of Han live
permanently in Tibet and the presence of migrant workers is helping
stimulate its economy.

GOALS

- The Dalai Lama says he is not seeking independence, but meaningful
autonomy for the region. China counters that he is insincere and says he
is bent on separating Tibet from the rest of the country.

(Compiled by Lindsay Beck; Editing by Nick Macfie and Jerry Norton)
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