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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Tibetan independence hopes look over after China refuses to budge

November 11, 2008

The Dalai Lama's hopes of achieving independence for Tibet look to be over after China said that talks with his envoys had failed and that it will not compromise over its status.
By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai
The Telegraph (UK)
November 10, 2008

Last week's talks came after the Dalai Lama announced that he too had "given up" on the six-year negotiation process between Beijing and Tibet's government-in-exile.

He added, in a visit to Japan two weeks ago that the situation for Tibetans is deteriorating and that Chinese rule is "almost like a death sentence". He said: "My trust in the Chinese government has become thinner, thinner, thinner. I cannot take direct responsibility for dealing with the Chinese government any more. Now it is up to the people."

Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, Kelsang Gyaltsen, and three aides arrived in Beijing for the third round of talks this year at the end of October.

Zhu Weiqun, a spokesman for the Chinese government, blamed the Tibetan envoys for the failure of the talks. "They should assume full responsibility. In our conversations, we pointed out that the unification of the motherland, territorial integrity and national dignity are the greatest interests of the Chinese people. On these fronts we won't make any concessions, at any time and for anyone," he said.

He added that the talks had centred on the Dalai Lama. "We merely talked about how the Dalai Lama should completely give up his separatist opinions," he said.

The deputy governor of Tibet, Bai Ma Cai Wang, has admitted that China has recently increased its security forces in the region. "In order for Tibet's stability and for people's safety and for people's desire for security and order, the Government has moderately adjusted the presence of the police force on the street," he told The Australian newspaper.

Patrols in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, have reportedly been reinforced by the presence of snipers on rooftops around the city's holiest site, the Jokhang Temple.

The failure of the talks, and the Dalai Lama's decision not to continue with the negotiation process, could open the way for a fresh wave of violence in the region. The Dalai Lama's government-in-exile, based in Dharamsala in India, has promoted a "middle way" of autonomy for Tibet without full independence. He has said he wants Tibet to enjoy the fruits of Chinese economic prosperity without losing its own language and culture.

The Dalai Lama's moderate position is not shared by some of the more hardline Tibetan advocates who may now come forward. There is increasing division among Tibetan monks over what should be done and some even advocate the use of violence to achieve Tibetan independence, a move that would justify China's security operation.

Tensions came to a head in March when riots broke out in Lhasa against Chinese rule, before spreading to other areas of western China with Tibetan populations. Tibet's government-in-exile said more than 200 Tibetans were killed and about 1,000 hurt in a subsequent Chinese crackdown, but China reported police killing one "insurgent" and blamed Tibetan "rioters" for 21 deaths.
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