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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Tibetans irritated by China talks

November 6, 2008

By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing
November 5, 2008

Tibetan exiles are losing patience with Beijing over the pace of talks 
on the future of the Himalayan region.

Chinese officials and envoys from the Tibetan government-in-exile are 
currently engaged in talks that were due to end on Wednesday.

But the Tibetan side has criticised what it sees as China's 
unwillingness to engage in meaningful discussions.

In response, China launched a scathing attack on the Dalai Lama, who 
has expressed doubt about the talks.

The frustration with the talks comes as the Chinese government 
announced a total of 55 people have been sentenced in connection with 
the unrest in Lhasa in March.

The current round of discussions is the third time the two sides have 
met since the unrest in China's Tibetan areas.

Neither side has been willing to comment on the talks while they are 
still taking place.

Critical moment

"There is a limit to the patience of the Tibetan people," said Thubten 
Samphel, spokesman for the government-in-exile, based in Dharamsala, 
India.

He added that these talks were "critical".

Some analysts say the Tibetans could pull out of the discussion 
process if there is no progress.

"We certainly hope there is a positive and open-minded response from 
the Chinese," said the Tibetan spokesman, referring to the current 
talks.

But there is a wide gulf between the Chinese and the Tibetans.

At the last talks, held in July, the two sides could not even agree to 
issue a joint statement expressing their commitment to the discussion 
process.

'Worsening problems'

The Dalai Lama, head of the government-in-exile as well as Tibetan 
Buddhism's spiritual leader, has also expressed his concerns.

Last month, he said the Chinese government did not seem interested in 
seriously tackling the problems in Tibet, which he believes are 
getting worse.

He made similar comments on a trip to Japan this week, words that led 
to anger in China.

In a commentary piece published by the state-run Xinhua news agency on 
Tuesday, China said the Dalai Lama had adopted a "pathetic posture" to 
gain public attention.

"His 'disappointment' also showed his reluctance to give up his stance 
to seek 'Tibetan independence'," the commentary added.

Such comments suggest it is unlikely that there will be any real 
progress during these current talks.

Story from BBC NEWS:
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