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Chinese Tibetologists say hard to communicate with West

June 29, 2008

Chinese Tibetologists say hard to communicate with West
Xinhua (People's Republic of China
June 27, 2008

BRUSSELS -- A group of Chinese Tibetologists who are touring Europe
for exchange of views expressed their frustration on Thursday at the
difficulty in communication with their Western colleagues and politicians.

"I find that people in Europe pay much attention to the Tibet issue,
but are generally poor in knowledge of today's Tibet -- the society,
the economy, the culture and religious freedom," head of the
delegation, Ciwang Junmei, told reporters.

"In our conversations, our efforts were often being taken as
propaganda even when we resorted to our personal experiences to make
a point," said Ciwang, former president of the Tibet Academy of
Social Sciences.

He said he got this impression from German press reports of their
activities in Germany.

Ma Lin, a Tibetologist from Qinghai province, said Western
politicians, citizens and researchers, on the one hand, admit that
they know little about the Tibet issue. But on the other hand, they
are showing a lot of sympathy to the Dalai Lama and his so- called
government in exile. "The sympathy as well as their attention to
Tibet, according to my observation, comes from media reports in the
West," he said.

Ciwang, who himself is ethnic Tibetan, said prejudices in the West
have made development achievements in Tibet invisible.

"The great changes in Tibet since the peaceful liberation are
something that the world needs to know," he said.

In a meeting with members of the European Parliament on Thursday
morning, the Tibetologists were asked why the Dalai Lama is still
branded as a separatist while he has repeatedly said he is seeking
autonomy of Tibet, not independence.

Zha Luo, a researcher at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology
of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the Dalai Lama's
claim of autonomy for Tibet was well received across the world.
However, he said, very few people care to look into the nature of his
proposals.

The Dalai Lama has demanded the withdrawal of Chinese troops from
Tibetan-populated areas and the relocation of other ethnic groups,
which have been living there for hundreds of years. He also asks for
rights to establish representatives in foreign countries.

These proposals are threats to China's sovereignty, said the researcher.

Besides, the Dalai Lama has made different proposals on different
occasions, he said. Therefore, it is difficult to know his real intentions.

On dialogues between the Dalai Lama's representatives and the Chinese
central government, Zha said the Dalai Lama appears to be more
interested in fanning up international pressure on China than in
talking seriously with the central government of China.
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