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 must renounce Tibetan freedom: China

July 6, 2008

By Anita Chang
The Globe and Mail (Canada)
July 3, 2008

BEIJING -- China wants the Dalai Lama to prove he does not support
Tibetan independence and disruption of the Beijing Olympics, and told
the spiritual leader's two visiting envoys that "positive actions"
could lead to more talks this year, a state news agency reported Thursday.

The demands made by a top Chinese official in two days of meetings
indicate there has been no apparent change in Beijing's position
toward the Dalai Lama, who is frequently demonized by the Communist leadership.

Beijing has accused the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and his
supporters of fomenting anti-government protests that rocked Tibet
and other Tibetan-inhabited areas of China in March.

The accusations have been rebuffed by the self-proclaimed Tibetan
government-in-exile, which insisted Thursday that the Dalai Lama has
been "tireless" in expressing his commitment to nonviolence.

"He has also gone out of his way to publicly announce his support for
the Beijing Olympics. He has even said that he would like to attend
the opening ceremony of the Olympics to show his support," said
Thupten Samphal, a spokesman for the exile government based in
Dharmsala, India.

The talks are important to China's hopes of hosting a flawless
Olympic Games. Some experts believe Beijing agreed to the talks to
ease criticism that it was too heavy-handed in its response to the
March violence.

China says 22 people died in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, while
foreign Tibet supporters say many times that number were killed in
the demonstrations and a subsequent government crackdown.

Some world leaders have said they might boycott the opening ceremony
of next month's Olympics to protest China's handling of the unrest.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said this week he would attend if
the latest talks made progress, and would make a decision during the
Group of Eight summit next week in Japan.

Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday that Du Qinglin, head of the
United Front Work Department, met with two Tibetan envoys and 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.

The Dalai Lama also must not support any effort to seek independence
for Tibet, Du was quoted as saying by Xinhua, which cited a report
from the United Front Work Department. The department is designed to
negotiate with influential people in groups outside of China's Communist Party.

Phones in the department's propaganda office rang unanswered all day Thursday.

Mr. Du told envoys Lodi Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen that the door of
dialogue is always open, Xinhua reported. Two vice ministers of the
United Front Work Department, Zhu Weiqun and Sita, also said there
could be further meetings before the end of this year if the Dalai
Lama's side takes "positive actions." No other details were given.

The Xinhua report was the first time China acknowledged meeting the
Tibetan envoys for the latest round of talks. There have been at
least a half-dozen formal meetings since 2002.

The Tibetan exile government has said the talks ended Wednesday in
Beijing, but said it would not comment on the discussions until after
the envoys briefed the Dalai Lama.

"That Xinhua has formally acknowledged the meeting between the Dalai
Lama's envoys and the Chinese officials is a positive step," Mr. Samphal said.

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.

"It's good when they talk, you never know what happens when the two
sides talk, perhaps one or both sides can move toward a common
compromise," said Melvyn Goldstein, director of the Center for
Research on Tibet at Case Western Reserve University in the U.S. "But
the gap, in my mind, is still very very great."
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