Dalai Lama’s envoys to hold parleys with China again

September 25th, 2008 - 4:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Dharamsala, Sep 25 (IANS) Envoys of exiled Tibetan spiritual guru, the Dalai Lama, will hold parleys with the Chinese government again next month, Tibet’s government-in-exile said Thursday.It will be the eighth round of talks between the Dalai Lama’s envoys and the Chinese that resumed in September 2002.

“Our main objective is to settle the vexed issue of Tibet amicably with the Chinese leadership so that our brothers across the border could have freedom to preserve their cultural identity,” Thubten Samphel, a spokesman of the government-in-exile, told IANS.

The Dalai Lama along with many of his supporters fled Tibet and took refuge in this Indian hill station when Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa in 1959.

Although the Chinese leadership considers that the issue of Tibet is only about the Dalai Lama, the government-in-exile clarifies that the issue at stake is the well-being of six million Tibetans only.

Samphel said the last round of negotiations with the Chinese in the month of July this year was not fruitful as they were preoccupied with the Olympics.

Special envoys Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, who participated in the last round of talks in China, had also said: “The Chinese are obsessed with the Olympics. There is no need to hold the next round of talks before the Games.”

Samphel clarified that on earlier occasions “there were intensive and frank talks between the representatives of the spiritual guru and the Chinese. This gives us (Tibetans) the hope that the issue will be settled amicably”.

But political observers said: “China also wanted to continue the dialogue process, though at a slow pace, because it fears that once the Dalai Lama, who is still respected by a majority of Tibetans as a god, dies in exile, there will be a vacuum of leadership.

“This will bolster morale of the Tibetans who are unhappy with the ‘middle-way’ approach of the Nobel laureate that advocates autonomy for Tibet. There are chances that the Tibetans, especially the youth, may demand full independence for Tibet”.

Meanwhile, the three-day meeting of the task force on negotiations on Tibet issue concluded here Wednesday.

The task force, set up by the Dalai Lama, chalked out the strategy for the next round of talks.

Prime Minister of the government-in-exile Samdhong Rinpoche said: “During the task force meeting we reviewed the outcome of the negotiations held earlier with them (Chinese). Now the left-over issues will be taken up on a mutually accepted dates and place.”

“This time (during the eight round of talks) we have made up our mind to candidly convey to our counterparts (Chinese) that in the absence of serious and sincere commitment on their part, the continuation of the present dialogue process would serve no purpose,” a minister in the government-in-exile said, requesting anonymity.

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