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Drop demand for military removal from Tibet, China to Dalai envoys

January 28, 2010

Saibal Dasgupta
The Times of India
January 27, 2010

BEIJING -- Image conscious Chinese authorities
are pushing envoys of the Dalai Lama to give up
their demand for removal of visible military
presence in heavily populated places that are far
from border areas in Tibet, sources said. The two
sides are engaged in the 9th round of
negotiations at an undisclosed location in China.

"Removal of military presence is essential for
people in Tibet to feel safe. We are also trying
to persuade Chinese officials to read our
memorandum for genuine autonomy in the right
spirit,” a Tibetan activist told TNN.

Beijing recently replaced its governor in Tibet
with a former officer of the People Liberation Army.

There was hardly any sign of the two sides
reaching any form of compromise because they were
still involved in defining the issues at stake.
One of them involves the definition of autonomy
of Tibet. The talks got stalled 15 months back
when Beijing rejected Dalai Lama’s idea of greater autonomy for Tibetan people.

China wants him to give up the idea of "larger
Tibet," which involves Tibetan speaking areas in
four provinces apart from Tibet. But Dalai Lama’s envoys are unlikely to agree.

Though Beijing is determined not to budge an inch
in favour of the Tibetan negotiators, it also has
to take into consideration the country’s image in the western world.

China has come under tremendous international
pressure as the United Kingdom, Canada and
Denmark has joined the United States to ask
Beijing to reach some kind of settlement with the Tibetan leader.

"I (therefore again) call on both parties to
engage themselves constructively in the
negotiations and hope that the dialogue will be
carried through to a result which ensures that
Tibetans attain genuine self-rule, with cultural
and religious freedom and respect for human
rights within the framework of the Chinese
constitution," Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller said in a statement.

Tibetan Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche said
recently that the talks are not likely to be a
turning point or bring about a drastic change.
But it would provide an opportunity to clarify
and explain certain aspects of the Memorandum on
Genuine Autonomy" that the Chinese side had
"misinterpreted" and rejected at the eighth round
of talks, he told Voice of Tibet radio service.
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