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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

West has let Tibetans down

March 15, 2009

Business Day, South Africa
March 13, 2009

THE Dalai Lama marked yesterday?s 50th anniversary of Tibet?s failed
uprising against China with unwonted vehemence, describing the country
as a ?hell on Earth? whose people had been subjected to ?untold
suffering? by half a century of Chinese rule. His anger is only partly
attributable to Beijing?s continuing intransigence.
His frustration must also stem from the way the west has turned its back
on Tibet. The global recession has made western powers even more anxious
to placate the economic powerhouse of China.

Britain led the way last autumn when Gordon Brown urged China to
contribute more to the IMF. That coincided with an announcement by David
Miliband, the foreign secretary, that ?like every other EU member state,
and the US, we regard Tibet as part of the People?s Republic of China?.
Until then, Britain had regarded Tibet as an autonomous entity under
Chinese suzerainty, not sovereignty. Beijing was delighted by the shift.
Last month, the US also kowtowed.
No wonder the Dalai Lama sounds tetchy.

Beijing insists that the people of Tibet dwell in an earthly paradise,
having been liberated from slavery and feudalism by the Chinese
invasion. Yet the Chinese government is remarkably reluctant to allow
the western media access to the country to test that claim. If it has
nothing to hide, let it open the borders. London, March 12
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