Tibet Government-in-Exile Breaks Off Talks With China (Update2)

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Sun Nov 23 17:32:08 UTC 2008

Tibet Government-in-Exile Breaks Off Talks With China (Update2)

By James Rupert

Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) -- The Tibetan government-in-exile, headed by the Dalai
decided to break off stalled negotiations with China over Tibet's future,
leaders of the exile parliament said today.

The exile government, based in northern India, "will not send envoys for
further contacts" with China after eight rounds of talks failed to produce
results, said Dolma Gyari, the deputy speaker of the legislature.

Future policy in the Tibetan campaign for greater autonomy from China will
be determined by the Dalai Lama and will always be nonviolent, she and other
parliament leaders said in the town of Dharamsala.

The Tibetan exiles' declaration of no confidence in China as a negotiating
partner "probably reflects an increasing erosion of faith among Tibetans
inside China as well," said Robbie
a professor of Tibetan studies at Columbia University in New York. "That
will represent a major political challenge for the Chinese government," he

The decision to end talks was made by a "special general meeting" of more
than 500 delegates summoned by the Dalai Lama, 73, after China rejected his
proposal for "genuine autonomy" in the latest set of talks this month in

The meeting endorsed the Dalai Lama's "Middle Way" policy toward China,
which specifies a nonviolent campaign to win autonomy under the Chinese
constitution for Tibet, rather than independence.

Self-Determination, Autonomy

Gyari and parliament speaker Karma Choephel summarized the decisions for
journalists after the close of the week-long meeting, and declined to answer

The meeting reflected growing frustration among Tibetans with their
inability to loosen China's 47-year-long rule of their Central Asian
mountain homeland.

"Quite a number" of delegates said Tibetans should sharpen their demand to
include self-determination, rather than autonomy, if China does not respond
to their aspirations "in the near future," Choephel said.

A call for self-determination would effectively demand full independence,
say Tibetan activists such as Tenzin Tsundue, 33, a delegate to the meeting.
"The demand for autonomy is a policy, but eventually, Tibet must become

Periodic Suppression

The Chinese People's Liberation Army seized control of Tibet in 1951 and
China says it has since brought modern economic development to the isolated
and poor Himalayan region. China has settled millions of ethnic Chinese in
the region, while suppressing Tibet's language and Buddhist religion in an
effort to destroy Tibetan culture, says the Dalai Lama's administration.

Chinese forces have quickly suppressed periodic rebellions and protests
against China's rule, the latest in March and April. China accused the Dalai
Lama's government-in-exile of fomenting the violence.

"We reject this," Choephel said. "The causes of this uprising were the
misrule and bad policies of the Chinese government."

The exile Tibetan authorities say more than 200 people died in the protests
and the subsequent crackdown by Chinese soldiers and police. The crackdown
continues eight months later, with more than 100 people having been
sentenced to prison, said Tashi Choephel, a researcher with the Tibetan
Center for Human Rights and Democracy.


China calls the Dalai Lama a "splittist," saying his demand for autonomy
within ethnic Tibetan regions is a veiled step toward independence.

"I have to accept failure, things are not improving in Tibet," the Dalai
Lama told journalists on Nov. 3. Since last year, that sense of failure has
spread in the Tibetan exile community, spawning a Tibetan People's Uprising
Movement that calls for "direct action to end China's illegal and brutal
occupation of our country."
To contact the reporter on this story: James
Islamabad at
jrupert3 at bloomberg.net.


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