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China Rejects US Lawmakers' Call for Negotiations with Tibetan Exiles

September 23, 2008

By VOA News
21 September 2008

China has dismissed an appeal from U.S. lawmakers to open negotiations
with representatives of the Dalai Lama and accused Washington of support
for Tibetan separatists.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu released a statement late
Saturday, calling the Tibet issue as well as dialogue between Beijing
and the Dalai Lama internal affairs of China. She added that the United
States should stop, in her words, "conniving with the Dalai Lama and
separatist forces" for Tibetan independence.

Jiang was commenting on a resolution passed unanimously last week by the
U.S. Senate. The lawmakers called on the Chinese government and
representatives of the Dalai Lama to move from dialogue to substantive
negotiations. The resolution said the negotiations should address the
legitimate grievances of the Tibetan people and provide them with
genuine autonomy.

The Dalai Lama says he seeks greater autonomy for Tibet within the
borders of China and not independence. Representatives of the exiled
spiritual leader and the Chinese government are scheduled to meet in
October as part of a series of talks that began six years ago.

But the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Samdhong Rinpoche, told
VOA on Saturday that his government has not had any communication with
Chinese officials since their last round of talks in July.

Samdhong Rinpoche said if the October talks do not yield progress, the
Tibetan side is unlikely to continue the discussions. He said the
Chinese side made unacceptable demands on the Dalai Lama at the most
recent round of talks.

China has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama of fomenting riots and
anti-China protests to disrupt this year's Beijing Olympic Games. The
Dalai Lama voiced his support for the Games, and threatened to step down
from his post if opposition to Chinese rule in Tibet turned violent.

Tibet's government in exile says more than 200 Tibetans may have been
killed in China's crackdown on Tibetan protests and many remain missing
following the March uprising.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.
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