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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.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Beijing Agrees To Meet Dalai Lama Representatives

Doomed meeting gets go-ahead

Tibet MapAccording to a Radio Free Asia (RFA) report the government in Beijing has agreed to meet a a "non official" delegation of Tibetans as a further step in opening up dialogue between the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan government in exile and Beijing with a view to Tibet achieving a greater degree of autonomy within the Chinese state.

The main objective of the visit is to create an environment conducive to dialogue in accordance with the wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, To do that we are to meet and talk with as many of the old Tibetan government officials, and Chinese as possible.

RFA reports Tibetan spokesperson Kalon Sonam Topgyal and former Tibetan Government in exile cabinet leader as saying when confirming the meet to be held in Beijing and Tibet in late June or July.

RFA reports also that a second meeting which will include the Dalai Lama's special envoy, Lodi Gyari, is planned for October.

This current round of meetings will follow on from two held last year and are aimed at reaching agreement with the Chinese government for the self determination and autonomy of the Tibetan people. In exchange the Dalai Lama has indicated that he will renounce his role as political leader of the Tibetan people and continue on only as spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists. Also the Tibetans would renounce once and for all any desire for total independence from the Chinese state.

The Dalai Lama has longed believed that it is in the best interests of Tibet that it remains within the Chinese state citing major improvements to the Tibetan economy. He does however desire autonomy so as Tibetans may have full control over their cultural destiny. This however is not a view held by all Tibetans particularly Tibetan youth in diaspora many who see the Lama's position as a "sell out" demanding nothing less than complete independence by whatever means.

These meetings however have little chance of success and have most probably been agreed to by Beijing to evidence it'd reasonableness over it's position on Tibet.

In a recent "White Paper" on Tibet released in May of this year the Chinese government argued that Tibetans and Tibet already enjoy considerable autonomy and could not conceivably obtain any more despite the calls from the Dalai Lama who they continue to brand a "Separatist".

As well the Dalai Lama, despite the offer to renounce his temporal role, would remain in Beijing's eyes a continuing threat to their absolute authority by not only being a living reminder to the Tibetan people of their lost independence but also due to his international prominence.

If real autonomy where ever to be given to the Tibetan people it is unlikely that it will occur within the current Dalai Lama's lifetime.

Radio Free Asia