Join our Mailing List

"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Dalai Lama's envoy details Tibetan proposals at China talks

May 11, 2008

The Associated Press
Published: May 8, 2008

Filed at 4:20 a.m. ET

DHARMSALA, India (AP) -- The Dalai Lama's envoys and Chinese officials disagreed more than they agreed at weekend talks on how to move beyond the unrest in Tibet, one of the Tibetan spiritual leader's representatives said Thursday.

Both sides made "concrete proposals" that could be part of a future agenda for discussions on Tibet, said Lodi Gyari, a special envoy for the Dalai Lama.

But divisions remained between the two sides.

"We disagreed more than we agreed," Gyari said. "Our counterparts again made baseless allegations against the Dalai Lama for derailing and sabotaging the Beijing Olympics. But we made it very clear that the Dalai Lama supported the Olympics from day one.''

Beijing has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama and his supporters of fomenting recent anti-government protests in Tibet -- an allegation the spiritual leader denies.

The March demonstrations turned violent and sparked a security crackdown. The Chinese response spurred demonstrations that disrupted the Olympic torch's worldwide relay during several international stops.

The envoy did not give specifics about the proposals both sides made at the talks. But he said the Tibetan side called for the release of people detained following the March unrest and for authorities to allow visitors, including journalists, into Tibet. The Himalayan region has been largely sealed since the recent violence broke out.

The Tibetan side also pressed Chinese officials for an end to Beijing's ''patriotic re-education'' campaign in the region, which forces monks to denounce the Dalai Lama.

But it was far from clear that the Chinese were ready to listen, Gyrai said.

"The Chinese did not give any assurances. They strongly defended their views," he told reporters in Dharmsala, the seat of the Tibetan governmen-in-exile.

Representatives of the Tibetan exile government met with Chinese officials over the weekend for the first time since 2006. The talks were prompted by the resurgence of violence in Tibet, which China has governed since the 1950s.

The March unrest marked the most widespread and sustained action against Beijing's rule in decades, focusing attention on accusations that China's policies in the region are eroding its traditional Buddhist culture and mainly benefit Chinese who moved there since its 1951 occupation by Communist troops.

China says 22 people died in violence in Tibet's capital of Lhasa, while overseas Tibet supporters say many times that number have been killed in protests and the ensuing security crackdown across Tibetan regions of western China.

"We made it clear that the events in Tibet are the inescapable consequences of wrong policies of the authorities toward the Tibetans,'' Gyari said in a statement released ahead of the news conference. ''The recent crisis in Tibet is a clear symptom of deeply felt grievances and resentment of the Tibetans.''

The talks were considered informal, and Gyari said the two sides were now trying to finalize dates for formal discussions.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
Developed by plank