Tibetan movement’s future to be decided at key meet

November 16th, 2008 - 1:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), Nov 16 (IANS) As winter sets in at this abode of the Dalai Lama, the exiled leadership of the Tibetans is to hold its biggest meeting in five decades here starting Monday to decide the future of the Tibetan movement against Chinese rule.One crucial decision the meeting could arrive at is to authorise the Tibetan spiritual leader to end future rounds of informal talks with China given what the Tibetans feel is the lack of sincerity on Beijing’s part.

The special meeting of the leadership of exiled Tibetans has been called Nov 17-22 by the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (Tibetan parliament in exile) on the directions of the Dalai Lama.

The meeting comes in the backdrop of the virtual failure of the eighth round of talks between the Dalai Lama’s envoys and the Chinese leadership this month. The Tibetan leader has already expressed disappointment that China was not doing enough to resolve the complex Tibet issue.

“After the sixth round of talks in 2007 with (Chinese) officials, there were no plans to hold further talks in the immediate future. But because of the urgency of the situation in Tibet after the events of March this year, we held informal discussions in the beginning of May, followed by the seventh and eighth rounds of talks in July and at the beginning of November, so as not to leave any stone unturned. Nevertheless, no real progress was made,” said a statement from the Dalai Lama ahead of the meeting.

The Dalai Lama and his government-in-exile here say the Tibet tangle can be resolved if China allows autonomy to the Tibetan region. They have given up the demand for Tibetan independence in consonance with the Dalai Lama’s ‘middle-path approach’ to seek reconciliation with China.

The meeting comes on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan revolt of 1959 after which the Dalai Lama and his followers fled to India.

The Tibetan leadership hopes the international community will exert more pressure on China over Tibet.

China was at the receiving end of the international community after its crackdown on Tibetans who revolted months before the Beijing Olympics.

“This special meeting has great significance. It is being called after the failure of eight rounds of talks with China since 2002 and the Tibetan uprising in March-April this year,” Karma Yeshi, one of the young Tibetan exiled MPs, told IANS.

“His Holiness and the exiled leadership had made every effort for the resolution of Tibet issue. But China has never been sincere and has always been passing time. Rather, they (China) started criticising His Holiness, which no Tibetan can digest.”

Added Yeshi, who believed that only independence will satisfy the Tibetans: “At this meeting we will discuss the failures and achievements of the dialogue process started since 2002. All Tibetan representatives can give ideas and suggestions for the future of Tibet.”

Said the Dalai Lama: “This special meeting is being convened with the express purpose of providing a forum to understand the real opinions and views of the Tibetan people through free and frank discussions. It must be clear to all that this meeting does not have any agenda for reaching a particular predetermined outcome.”

The Dalai Lama lives in India along with some 100,000 Tibetan exiles. His government-in-exile, based in this hilly town, is not recognised by any country.

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