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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Two Birds With One Stone? Big Ask From China

Dalai Lama asked to betray a friend

 Dalai Lama: Spiritual Leader of the Tibnetan PeopleThe world jet setting Dalai Lama fresh from trips to Canada and Europe is heading off to Taiwan to take part in Thursday's inauguration of the second term of office of President Chen Shui-bian.

When asked to comment on the Lama's trip to Taiwan China's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao effectively sent a message to the Dalai Lama that if he wanted negotiations between his representatives and Beijing to go ahead then not only must he recognise China's sovereignty over Tibet but also over Taiwan.

"We have repeatedly urged the Dalai Lama to recognise Taiwan as part of Chinese territory and give up his position of seeking independence of Tibet. Only by doing so, the central government of China can have dialogue with the Dalai Lama," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told reporters.

A rather big ask one would have thought. The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, has repeatedly and publicly stated for some years now that he has renounced all claims for an independent Tibet and that he wishes to negotiate with the Beijing government only for greater autonomy and freedoms for the Tibetan people.

To ask him now to also include the Tibetan people's long term supporter Taiwan into the equation by effectively asking him to betray a 'friend' would appear to indicate that China has no real intentions of entering into constructive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives.

It is clear their only aim is to belittle him and/or ignore him

"If the Dalai Lama has the sincerity to solve the (Tibet) question, he should admit and make a public statement, admitting that Taiwan and Tibet are part of Chinese territories," the spokesman said.

"The Dalai Lama must be very clear about the position of the Chinese central government," he noted.

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China asks Dalai to recognise its sovereignty over Tibet