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Talks with Dalai Lama possible if...: China

April 02, 2012 16:40 IST

As suicide bids continued unabated in Tibetan-inhabited areas seeking the return of the Dalai Lama, China, for the first time in recent months, has indicated its willingness to reopen the stalled talks with him if he "truly gives up Tibetan independence."

"The central government has also made clear its willingness for talks if the Dalai Lama truly gives up Tibetan independence. The door remains open to him," the state-run China Daily said on Monday.

This is perhaps the first time that an indication has come up in the official media after the earlier dialogue between Chinese officials and representatives of the Dalai Lama failed to make any headway in 2010.

It follows a barrage of criticism unleashed against him in recent weeks, with China alleging that he was instigating suicides, specially among the Buddhist monks in Tibetan-inhabited areas.

Over 30 people have attempted self immolations. One Tibetan youth burnt himself to death ahead of the recently-concluded BRICS summit in Delhi which was attended by Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The two sides have held nine rounds of talks since 2002 but nothing concrete has emerged so far even after the Tibetan spiritual leader asserted that Tibet is part of China and sought genuine autonomy.

But Chinese officials brushed off his assertions stating that the Dalai had come up with far stiffer demands like withdrawal of the Chinese military and police from Tibet and the four Tibetan provinces.

The Dalai also wanted all ethnic people, other than Tibetans, to leave the Tibetan Autonomous Region and the four provinces, Qu Xing, president of the state-run China Institute of International Studies told the media recently.

Besides, he wanted his authority to cover all of Tibet, including, Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan. All these regions put together constitute one fourth of China's territory, Qu said.

Though the Dalai Lama has said that he renounced the demand for independence, his other demands that all troops and mainland Chinese should leave the areas amounted to seeking independence, he said.

Asked about the prospects of the resumption of talks, Qu had said the Chinese central government can consider it if the Dalai Lama abandons his "independence political objective."

Today's article in the China Daily said the "Chinese government has repeatedly shown good intentions to the Dalai Lama by arranging the visits of his private representatives and relatives, even after the riot in March 2008."

The article titled "Dharamshala cannot represent Tibetan people" said "neither Dharamshala, nor other settlements of the exiles, could have the territory it needs to form a sovereign state."

"The 'government-in-exile' cannot even effectively control the piece of soil under its feet, which is Indian territory. Besides, India has long publicly recognised Tibet as part of China, so how can it tolerate some other 'sovereign state' within its own borders." it asked.

"Most importantly, the 'government-in-exile' of the Dalai Lama's clique has never been formally, even factually, recognised by any country in the world," it said.

K J M Varma In Beijing
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