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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Dalai Lama, China at Odds on Tibet

May 12, 2008

Ashwini Bhatia
TIME Magazine/AP
May 8, 2008

(DHARMSALA, India) — 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. e going to bring
in not just supplies but a lot of capacity to go with them to make
sure the supplies get to the people."
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