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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

China imposes new conditions for further "China-Tibet talks"

October 20, 2009

Tibet Post
October 17, 2009

On 22 September, a reporter for the German daily
online news magazine FOCUS interviewed Zhu
Weigun, the vice minister of the United Front
Work Department (UFWD) of the Chinese Communist
Party, on the subject of Tibet and the Dalai
Lama. In the interview, Mr. Zhu named three
conditions for restoring the Sino-Tibetan
dialogue: the Tibetan central government must
explain their postponement of last year's talks;
the Tibetan exile government must reform those of
their policies which the Chinese strictly oppose;
and finally, for the sake of China's friendly
relations with other countries, the Dalai Lama must stop traveling abroad.

Before the interview, Mr. Zhu requested that the
reporter record his answers truthfully and
without bias, and she agreed to this.

The journalist began with, "China's Tibet is an
autonomous region. So, how do you define the meaning of "autonomy"?"

The minister answered, "This is a political
doctrine as well as a practical issue. China is a
country consisting of 56 separate ethnicities. We
always treat ethnic issues with equality, unity,
mutual benefit, and peace. In regions where the
ethnic minority population is highest, we apply
the "autonomous region" system. The total
population of ethnic minorities in China is eight
percent greater than the number of actual Chinese
(Han). But ethnic regions where autonomy is
practiced occupy only 64% of Chinese territory.
One noticably unique aspect of the Chinese
nation's expansion is the high degree of
coexistence between ethnic groups. For instance,
in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, not only
Tibetans, but also Manchu, Uyghur, Miao and Chang
minorities, as well as Hans, live together. In
typical Chinese provinces and cities, such as
Beijing and the eastern Chinese provinces,
different ethnicities intermingle, and they enjoy
full access to social activities and ethnic
rights. The construction of a nation differs from
one country to the next, due to a variety of
cultural, historic and traditional backgrounds.
So the practice of regional autonomy also varies
between different countries. Each country has the
right to deal with an ethnic nation's issue based
on a system it deems suitable."

The FOCUS reporter continued, "I want to know
what level of rights Tibetans are entitled to in
the Tibetan Autonomous Region? And do they have
the right to manage the development in their own region?"

Mr. Zhu's reply was, "On the condition that they
don't disrupt the decisions made at the General
Assembly of the Chinese People's Congress, which
is attended by representatives of every ethnic
minority, or break Chinese constitutional law,
Tibetans have the right to manage the social,
economic and cultural development in their
autonomous region. Our system of regional
autonomy always complements Chinese national
unity and integraion. Without integration, there
can be no national unity, and then autonomy is
irrelevant. Our history has proven to us that
without unity and integration, all Chinese
ethnicities will fall victim to imperialist nations."

"Concerning the level of Tibetans' rights: in the
Tibetan Autonomous Region, more than 70% of all
first-degree official posts are held by Tibetans,
and 80% of first-degree posts at the regional
level. In counties and smaller districts, Tibetans hold 90% of official posts."

In response to this interview, Dawa Tsering, His
Holiness's representative in Taiwan, stated, "We
showed our good intentions, but the Chinese
authorities were not willing to restore the
Sino-Tibetan dialogue. This drama is unnecessary.
If the Tibet issue had been solved, the exile
government would have dissolved as it has
promised, and all of its offices and departments
would be closed. Until the issue is solved, the
Tibetan exile government will continue to
function and the Tibetan freedom struggle will continue.
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