Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tibet-China talks yield no tangible result

The Special Envoy of the Dalai Lama Mr Lodi Gyari on Saturday told reporters that he did not have “that much of good news to share” of the latest seventh round of talks with China.

Mr Gyari briefed the exiled Tibetan leader about the talks earlier today before talking to reporters at a press conference later in the afternoon. Mr Gyari reiterated his earlier media statement that the talks were "one of the most difficult sessions" that the two sides have ever had since their first talks in 2002. “His Holiness was also disappointed” Mr Gyari said of the talks, for not seeing any positive signal from the Chinese side this time.

Mr Gyari said the two sides have once again “agreed” to meet later in October, when the Beijing Olympics would be over.

"There is some widespread belief that they are only meeting because of the Olympics," he said of the talks, adding "It will be important to see what would be their attitude after the Olympics.”

"I personally told my Chinese counterparts very candidly that if the talks do not make any tangible results, there is no point in wasting each other’s time," he told reporters, apparently sounding there would be no positive breakthrough any time soon.

Before the seventh round of talks began, Tibetan leaders raised high hope that the latest seventh round of talk would yield some positive result and show some kind of indication for the future course of the Sino-Tibetan dialogue process.

In his press statement issued here today, Mr Gyari noted, “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.”

However, after the March unrest in Tibet and even before the latest talks began, China launched a vicious verbal attack on the Dalai Lama, denouncing him as an instigator of violence in Tibet. Chinese media has also been publishing a series of articles condemning Tibetan Youth Congress of staging violent terrorist activities and often accusing the exiled Tibetan leader of supporting the organisation, which seeks to restore Tibet’s independence.

“His Holiness the Dalai Lama has repeatedly and clearly stated publicly he is not seeking separation and independence of Tibet,” Mr Gyari said. “We stated in the strongest possible terms to the Chinese counterparts that no one needs to urge us on this as His Holiness and the Tibetan struggle are universally acknowledged and appreciated for consistently rejecting and opposing such acts,” he said.

“While the Tibetan Youth Congress does not support the Middle Way Approach of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and stands for independence of Tibet, we categorically rejected the Chinese attempt to label it as a violent and terrorist organization,” Mr Gyari told the reporters.

In his press statement, Mr Gyari said, “While the Chinese side finally seems to have realized that their allegations against His Holiness for instigating the recent events in Tibet and in sabotaging the Olympics Games have become untenable, they are now urging His Holiness not to support violence, terrorism, and sabotaging the Olympics.”

Mr Gyari said, throughout their talks, they had reiterated to the Chinese counterparts that “the issue at hand is the welfare of the Tibetan people and is not about the personal status and affairs of His Holiness the Dalai Lama or that of the Tibetans in exile”.

During the two-day talks in Beijing on July 1 and 2, Lodi Gyari was accompanied by Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen and three other aides from the Task Force on Sino-Tibetan Negotiations.

The Tibetan delegation met with Du Qinglin, Vice Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Minister of the Central United Front Work Department, on July 1, 2008. On July 2, they had a day-long discussion with Executive Vice Minister Zhu Weiqun and Vice Minister Sithar.

During the visit, the Tibetan envoys also visited the China's Centre for Tibetan Studies and were received by Director Lhakpa Phuntsok and Deputy Director Zhu Xiaoming. The envoys on Friday briefed the Tibetan government-in-exile officials about the talks.


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