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Tibetan government-in-exile calls a special session

October 29, 2008

October 27, 2008

Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), Oct 27 (IANS) -- The Tibetan
government-in-exile has called a special six-day session of exiles at
McLeodganj near here from Nov 17 to discuss the future of the Tibetan
movement, an aide said Monday.

'On the advice of the Dalai Lama, the parliament-in-exile has called
an extraordinary session from Nov 17 to discuss wide-ranging issues
about the peaceful settlement of the issue of Tibet,' Tenzin Taklha,
joint secretary at the Dalai Lama's office, told IANS.

The special session, which will open with the address of the
spiritual leader, would be attended by Tibetan leaders,
intellectuals, ethnic groups and others.

'The aim of the session is to hear the views of the exiles so that a
joint consensus could be formed for the settlement of the Tibet issue
once and for all,' Taklha added.

For the past five decades, the 73-year-old Dalai Lama has adopted a
'middle-way' approach that advocates 'meaningful autonomy' for Tibet
as a part of China.

Contrary to the spiritual leader's approach, many radicals,
particularly the youth, believe that Tibet was an independent nation
before Communist troops invaded in 1950 and demand full independence
from China.

Taklha said: 'Since we (government-in-exile) believe in democracy,
during the special session we will even listen to the views of the
radicals. All options left with us would be mulled and then finally a
consensus would emerge.'

'At this juncture when there is a lack of response from the Chinese
leadership regarding the next round of negotiations, the session is
crucial to discuss the options left with the exiles,' he added.

This is a rare occasion when a special session has been called. The
last such session was held in 1959.

'Yes, this is a rare occasion,' Takhla said.

But analysts here said that China is not sincere with talks and
vilified the Dalai Lama as a 'mastermind' of protests during the Olympics.

'China wants to continue the dialogue process because it fears that
once the Dalai Lama, who is still respected by a majority of Tibetans
as a god, dies in exile, there will be a vacuum of leadership. So
China wants to keep the talks alive, though at a glacial pace,' an
analyst said.

The Dalai Lama along with many of his supporters fled Tibet and took
refuge in India when Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa in 1959.

The Dalai Lama has ever since been heading the government-in-exile
from this north Indian hill station. The government-in-exile is not
recognised by any country in the world.
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