Tibetan government-in-exile calls a special session

October 27th, 2008 - 4:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), Oct 27 (IANS) The Tibetan government-in-exile has called a special six-day session of exiles at McLeodganj near here from Nov 17 to discuss the future of the Tibetan movement, an aide said Monday.”On the advice of the Dalai Lama, the parliament-in-exile has called an extraordinary session from Nov 17 to discuss wide-ranging issues about the peaceful settlement of the issue of Tibet,” Tenzin Taklha, joint secretary at the Dalai Lama’s office, told IANS.

The special session, which will open with the address of the spiritual leader, would be attended by Tibetan leaders, intellectuals, ethnic groups and others.

“The aim of the session is to hear the views of the exiles so that a joint consensus could be formed for the settlement of the Tibet issue once and for all,” Taklha added.

For the past five decades, the 73-year-old Dalai Lama has adopted a “middle-way” approach that advocates “meaningful autonomy” for Tibet as a part of China.

Contrary to the spiritual leader’s approach, many radicals, particularly the youth, believe that Tibet was an independent nation before Communist troops invaded in 1950 and demand full independence from China.

Taklha said: “Since we (government-in-exile) believe in democracy, during the special session we will even listen to the views of the radicals. All options left with us would be mulled and then finally a consensus would emerge.”

“At this juncture when there is a lack of response from the Chinese leadership regarding the next round of negotiations, the session is crucial to discuss the options left with the exiles,” he added.

This is a rare occasion when a special session has been called. The last such session was held in 1959.

“Yes, this is a rare occasion,” Takhla said.

But analysts here said that China is not sincere with talks and vilified the Dalai Lama as a “mastermind” of protests during the Olympics.

“China wants to continue the dialogue process 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. So China wants to keep the talks alive, though at a glacial pace,” an analyst said.

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

The Dalai Lama has ever since been heading the government-in-exile from this north Indian hill station. The government-in-exile is not recognised by any country in the world.

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