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

After the Games, Tibet -- Your comments on my Tibet column

August 19, 2008

By Nicholas D. Kristof
The New York Times
August 13, 2008,

My Thursday column calls on China to respond to the Dalai Lama's
olive branch and push for negotiations to achieve a deal on Tibet's
future. There is some hope, particularly given the interest on each
side in a visit by the Dalai Lama to China to honor the victims of
the Sichuan earthquake in May.

I would particularly welcome comments from either Chinese or Tibetans
about whether they think a deal is feasible, and let me try to
address some comments made by Chinese after the original column.

Some Chinese complained that they could never accept restrictions on
movement within China, such as the curbs I proposed for Han Chinese
moving into Tibetan areas. But household registration is already a
Chinese system currently in place. True, it is often ignored these
days, but it is still dusted off at sensitive times (that's why
people without a Beijing hukou have been sent away during the
Olympics). Likewise, Hong Kong and Macao are part of China, yet the
Chinese government restricts even tourism to those places, and
resettlement is often impossible. Likewise, for many years, China
operated a "second border" outside Shenzhen in the south. Given all
this, why worry about lesser restrictions on Chinese moving to
Tibetan areas, if that is the way to get an agreement with Tibetans?
And in any case, how many Han Chinese really want to move to the
Tibetan areas of Qinghai or Gansu?

Many Chinese also emphasize their distrust for the Dalai Lama and
don't see any point in talking to him. Look, take it from an
American: the biggest mistakes we've made have involved not talking
to those we distrust. One example is China itself, for the U.S.
didn't have serious interactions with China from 1949 until 1971. We
have been similarly myopic in our reluctance to engage North Korea
and Iran. Distrust is not a reason to refuse to talk to someone.

If Hu Jintao can meet with Japanese leaders and reach agreement with
them, then why not try to do the same with the Dalai Lama?

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