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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Lodi Gyari: Standing With The Dalai Lama

July 24, 2008

National Public Radio (NPR)
July 23, 2008

With the Olympics in Beijing less than a month away, the global
spotlight is on China. The host nation's human rights record is under
renewed scrutiny, particularly its response to recent unrest in Tibet.

Lodi Gyari is the special envoy of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled
spiritual leader.

As the Dalai Lama's chief negotiator, Gyari has twice traveled to
meet Communist Party officials in Beijing since this spring's
widespread protests in support of Tibet's push for self-rule. Those
protests, which centered on the Olympic torch's trip to Beijing, also
set off counter-demonstrations in China and elsewhere.

Despite that unrest, Gyari told Steve Inskeep, "China sometimes takes
the position that, 'Oh, there's no problem in Tibet. Everything's
fine. Tibetans are very grateful, there's prosperity, there's this,
there's that.'"

And when rallies and demonstrations break out, Gyari said, China's
communist government treats them as threats to law and order, often
leading to a crackdown.

"This is not going to resolve the issue," Gyari says he told Chinese
negotiators at a recent meeting. "The more you suppress, the more
[there is] resentment."

Instead, he urged them to accept the Dalai Lama's offer of
cooperation with China's leaders.

"We can provide them legitimacy," Gyari said. "But if -- and only if
-- Tibetans are given the opportunity to live in dignity."

Gyari, who was born in Tibet, fled China's takeover of his country
when he was a boy in 1959 — the same year the Dali Lama fled Tibet.

"I remember walking to India with only one shoe," Gyari said,
"because somewhere on the road I was too exhausted and my one foot
got stuck in the mud and when I pulled my leg it came back without a shoe."

The Dalai Lama has said that he is not seeking separation and
independence of Tibet. But the Chinese government's unease over more
protests led it to demand that the Dalai Lama repudiate any efforts
to disrupt the Olympics.

Gyari said the Dalai Lama has done just that.

"Because the Olympics, we certainly believe, is important for the
Chinese as a people," Gyari said.

The two sides have agreed to meet again after the summer Olympics.

"This is the great opportunity for [China] to prove" itself, Gyari
said. "To prove, one, that China does things by herself, not because
of international pressure; two, that they're serious, and they were
not doing all these talks for the sake of the Olympics."

Gyari also cited the chance for the Dalai Lama and Chinese President
Hu Jintao to prove that they are serious about a mediated solution.

"I think the October meeting is very important," he said.
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