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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."

Dalai Lama envoy: China talks difficult

July 4, 2008

By ASHOK SHARMA
The Associate Press (AP)
July 4, 2008

NEW DELHI (AP) -- An envoy for the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader
said Friday that the latest round of talks with China were "one of
the most difficult sessions" held so far, but that he will return for
more discussions after the Beijing Olympics.

Lodi Gyari said during the meetings he countered China's accusations
that the Dalai Lama planned to sabotage next month's Olympics and was
behind anti-government protests that rocked Tibet and other
Tibetan-inhabited areas of China in March.

"Such baseless accusations make the Chinese government really look
ridiculous in the eyes of the world," Gyari said. "This time they
realized that labeling his Holiness being responsible for the present
disturbances in Tibet and accusing him of sabotaging the Olympics is
something that no one buys."

Gyari called the discussions "one of the most difficult sessions" the
two sides have had, but said they agreed to meet again after the Olympics.

"I told my Chinese counterparts very candidly that if there is not
seriousness on their part it is almost pointless for us to waste each
other's time," Gyari told reporters at the New Delhi airport Friday
before returning to Dharmsala, the base for Tibet's government-in-exile.

Two days of meetings were held this week in Beijing between Chinese
officials and the Dalai Lama's envoys.

Gyari said he was not expecting a breakthrough in the negotiations
anytime soon.

"My Chinese counterpart said we have 50 years of unfortunate legacy
behind us. Therefore it would take time to resolve the Tibetan issue.
I do agree with that," he said.

Some experts believe Beijing agreed to the talks to ease
international criticism that it was too heavy handed in its response
to the demonstrations in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa in March.

Du Qinglin, head of the United Front Work Department said the Dalai
Lama should "openly and explicitly" promise and prove through his
actions that he does not support disruptions of the Beijing Olympics,
nor plots to incite violence, reported the state Xinhua News Agency .

He also told the Tibetan envoys that the door of dialogue was always open.

China has governed Tibet since communist troops marched into the
Himalayan region in the 1950s. The Dalai Lama, who fled to India amid
a failed uprising in 1959, has said he wants some form of autonomy
that would allow Tibetans to freely practice their culture, language
and religion.
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