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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's Envoys Disappointed by Talks in China

July 7, 2008

By Jill Drew
The Washington Post, Foreign Service
July 6, 2008; A15

BEIJING, July 5 -- Envoys for the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual
leader, said Saturday that their meetings with Chinese officials last
week were so disappointing that they could not even get the Chinese
to agree to issue a joint statement committing both sides to further talks.

Tibet advocates are now urging leaders of the Group of Eight
industrialized nations to raise concerns about the fate of Tibetans
who participated in widespread protests this spring against Chinese
rule with Chinese President Hu Jintao at an outreach meeting in
Hokkaido, Japan, this week.

"We had hoped that the Chinese leadership would reciprocate our
efforts by taking tangible steps during this round. On the contrary,
due to their excessive concern about legitimacy, the Chinese side
even failed to agree to our proposal of issuing a joint statement
with the aim of committing both parties to the dialogue process," the
envoys, Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, said in a statement
issued in Dharmsala, India, where the Dalai Lama's
administration-in-exile is based.

Chinese officials were quoted in state-controlled media on Thursday
as saying that the Dalai Lama must prove he does not support
activities that would disturb the Olympic Games next month in Beijing
and to "concretely curb" violent activities of groups advocating
Tibet's independence. The Dalai Lama has often said he supports
Beijing's being host of the Olympics and rejects violence, and that
he is advocating autonomy, not independence, for Tibet.

The Chinese offered to meet again in October, and the Tibetan envoys
said they accepted the offer. "The Chinese side expressed the view
that the dialogue process has been productive and that we need to
keep in mind that a half-a-century-old issue of great complexity
cannot be resolved in a matter of years," the statement said.

"The talks this time were disappointing, and no breakthrough was
achieved at a critical time, when the international community
expected progress in the buildup to the Olympics," said Kate
Saunders, spokeswoman for the International Campaign for Tibet, based
in Washington. "It seems that hard-liners in China are fixed upon a
failed policy in Tibet and blocking an achievable solution."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said last week that he would
announce during the G-8 meetings whether he will attend the Olympic
Games opening ceremony. The Reuters news agency on Friday cited
French media reports affirming Sarkozy's decision to attend.
Meanwhile, the White House announced Friday that President Bush will
attend the Aug. 8 ceremony.
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