China may consider Dalai Lama’s return if he meets demands

July 7th, 2008 - 9:59 pm ICT by IANS  

By Pranay Sharma
Beijing, July 7 (IANS) The Chinese government has indicated it is willing to consider the issue of the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet provided he fulfil some of its demands, including disbanding his ‘government-in-exile’ and publicly acknowledging Tibet to be an “inalienable” part of China. “The Dalai Lama has not met any of the conditions yet. Once he does, we can look at it and take a decision,” Wang Pie Jun, deputy director general of the Chinese government’s information bureau, told a group of visiting Indian journalists here Monday.

The other demands include immediately stopping all “splitist activities”, stopping sabotage of the Olympic Games, stopping support to the Tibetan Youth Congress and acknowledging Taiwan as a part of China.

The official pointed out that China’s policy on the Dalai Lama’s return was consistent and said that while Beijing had been keen on it in the 1980s, it was the Tibetan leader who had rejected the proposal and refused to come back.

The set of demands put forward by China suggests it is willing to continue its engagement with the Tibetan spiritual leader, despite its apparent displeasure with him for what it sees as not being sincere in what he is preaching.

“We cannot go by his words alone, we need to closely see his actions,” Sun said by way of responding to arguments that the Tibetan leader has publicly acknowldeged most of the demands that China seems to have put as conditions for consider the prospect for his return to Tibet.

After the last round of talks between China and Tibetan leaders July 1-2, Lodi Gyari, the chief Tibetan negotiator, said the talks with China remained on the “life support system” because of indifference of Chinese authorities.

He went on to add that Beijing’s decision to hold talks was a “gimmick to take off international pressure from the games”.

Sun tried to play down his negative response and argued that China awaited a detailed response from the Dalai Lama’s side in a few days.

He also said that though he was not aware of the details of the talks, there was a strong likelihood that the next rounds of negotiations between the two sides will be held by the year-end.

China is of the view that the March 14 violence in Lhasa, allegedly instigated by the Dalai Lama, was a “big mistake” on the Tibetan leaders’s part in judging the response of China, its people and most of the other countries in the world.

“The Chinese living in the country and outside were totally united on the issue of the country’s sovereignty and strongly criticised the Dalai clique’s attempt to create trouble in Lhasa,” Sun said.

He said that many of them had even suggested that Beijing should stop all contacts and negotiations with the Dalai Lama.

According to him, the Dalai Lama started condemning the violence and distancing himself from the violent attacks only after he saw the negative response to the “riots” in Lhasa from different parts of the world.

“Many in the western capitals were also debating whether it was wise for them to jeopardise their foreign policy objectives on the Tibet issue,” Sun added.

Asked to comment on the role of India on the volatile issue, he said that India and China have maintained “friendly exchanges” during the crisis and Beijing and its people were appreciative of New Delhi’s stand to prevent attacks on the Chinese embassy and Tibetan Youth Congress workers’ plan to sabotage the Olympic torch relay in India.

“We don’t want to see the Dalai group engaging in reckless activities in India,” Sun said. He added that even in India many views were being expressed on whether the Tibetan government-in-exile was becoming a “burden” for New Delhi.

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