‘No outside party can play a role in Sino-Tibetan talks’

May 21st, 2008 - 2:58 pm ICT by admin  

By Alfred de Tavares
Stockholm, May 21 (IANS) No outside party can play a role in the Sino-Tibetan negotiations that have bred a “healthy optimism” on both sides, Samthong Rinpoche, prime minister of the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan government-in-exile, said here. In Sweden to launch the Tibet week May 18-24, the Rinpoche was asked if any third party other than China and Tibet have been or would be involved in the current talks.

“The question does not arise. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama solely seeks autonomy for Tibet, within the sovereign state of China, no outside party could play any role in the Sino-Tibetan negotiations.”

Addressing a packed hall with a multi-ethnic audience, the Rinpoche outlined the progress of the ongoing seventh round of bilateral talks in Beijing between representatives of China and the Tibetan government-in-exile, based in the Indian hill town of Dharamsala.

“This round of talks has been substantially conducive of a healthy optimism,” explained the Rinpoche. “Hitherto, both the sides have made serious efforts towards mutual understanding of the issues at stake.

“Our demands for an autonomous Tibet, within China, with all the Tibetan regions and peoples as a single entity, have been constant since the first round of Sino-Tibetan talks that initiated in the 1950s,” the Rinpoche said.

“During that round the Dalai Lama, in a personal meeting with Chairman Mao, received categorical assurances that Tibet would continue as an entirely autonomous geo-political region within China. We would constitute a regional government dealing with every regional policies except for foreign affairs and defence.”

He talked extensively and eruditely on various aspects of Tibetan spiritual and temporal culture over the ages, highlighting the factors that have contributed to make it a distinct non-divisible entity that has contributed greatly towards regional balances, especially between its two mega neighbours, India and China, contributing towards the progress of both, geographically and culturally.

“Humanity cannot afford the loss of Tibetan society and culture and inversely neither can the Tibetan people lose ties with the world,” said the Rinpoche.

“We may be a relatively small land and people but we directly contribute towards a very vast area of South Asia.

“The great rivers sourcing from Tibet, the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Yangtze, Irrawadi, Indus, Sutlej and others irrigate and sustain all of 10 South Asian countries. As the Dalai Lama says, Tibet is indeed the world’s highest and biggest water tower,” said the Rinpoche amid thunderous applause.

“Our sole desire is to live peaceably in our land and husband its resources with our traditional industry and shape our destiny. It is not who rules but how it is ruled,” he said.

Later, the Rinpoche said told IANS: “Dharamsala (where the Dalai Lama is based) will always remain in every Tibetan heart a second home.

“For the last half a century it has functioned as our de facto capital and when, God willing, we shall return to Tibet and Lhasa, it will ever remain our second capital. It has, indeed, become an integral part of our Tibetan heritage.”

Tibet and Tibetan issues have been massively dominant in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries since the Chinese crackdown in Lhasa earlier this year.

The highlight was the arrival of the alternate Olympic torch earlier this month. Although, received with copious popular enthusiasm, the arrangers, Team Tibet, are at pain to point out that their aim “is not at all to damage or sabotage the Beijing Olympics but draw attention in the world to how the industrial countries are not in the least concerned about the tribulations of the Tibetan peoples”.

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