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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."

No progress in eighth round of dialogue as Chinese reject autonomy proposal

November 12, 2008

ICT press release
November 10, 2008

Chinese official Zhu Weiqun today categorically denounced an autonomy
proposal presented by the Dalai Lama's envoys during the eighth round
of dialogue last week in an uncompromising stance that counters the
hopes of Tibetans for genuine autonomy in their homeland
--- see below ITEM 6). By rejecting the Dalai Lama's Middle Way
approach as "disguised independence" and openly speculating over his
death, the Chinese position will increase resentment and frustration
among Tibetans.

In the most recent round of the Tibetan-Chinese dialogue (October 31
- November 5), the Tibetan side presented the most detailed and
substantive document offered by either side in six years of talks: a
memorandum that articulated a concept of genuine autonomy for
Tibetans within the People's Republic of China. The proposal was
specifically requested by the Chinese side in the May 2008 round.

Rather than use the proposal as a starting point for earnest
negotiations, the Chinese side summarily rejected it and resorted to
well-worn anti-Dalai Lama rhetoric. In an unprecedented press
conference in Beijing, Zhu, who is the Executive Vice Minister of the
United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the Chinese Communist Party,
declared that "We will never make a concession" on the Tibet question
while simultaneously asserting that Tibetans should "shoulder full
responsibility" for "lack of progress."

The current impasse fails to meet the expectations of the
international community for progress in Tibetan-Chinese relations.
After the first round of dialogue in September 2002, the U.S.
Government expressed hope that "substantive dialogue between the
Chinese government and the Dalai Lama or his representatives [would]
lead quickly to a negotiated settlement on questions related to
Tibet." This position has been reiterated by governments around the
world consistently for six years.

In stark contrast, Chinese rhetoric confirms a lack of progress by
characterizing the dialogue as nothing more than private discussions
about the disposition of the Dalai Lama.

At the press conference, Zhu said the Middle Way approach of the
Dalai Lama, who has repeatedly rejected seeking independence, was
tantamount to Tibetan independence and was unacceptable to Beijing.
According to a Xinhua news report, Zhu called on the Dalai Lama to
"do something beneficial" for the Tibetan people before he passes
away, and "reiterated that the door for the Dalai Lama's return to a
patriotic stance had always been open and would remain open." Zhu
also repeated old demands, such as insisting the Dalai Lama rewrite
history by stating that "Tibet is part of China since ancient times."

The Tibetan Envoys have announced that they will defer further
comment on the 8th round until after they report on the dialogue at
the November 17 - 22 Special General Meeting called by the Tibetan
government in exile at the advice of the Dalai Lama. The calling of
the meeting responds to the Dalai Lama's frustration with Chinese
intransigence on the dialogue and their ongoing repression in Tibet.
This spring, demonstrations against Chinese misrule spread throughout
Tibet and a security crackdown remains in place.

Zhu Weiqun will visit the United Kingdom this week and is expected to
discuss the dialogue with officials at its Foreign and Commonwealth
Office, which last week issued a strong statement in support of the
dialogue process and the Dalai Lama's 'Middle Way' approach towards a
genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people.

Chinese President Hu Jintao is scheduled to meet with world leaders
at a global financial summit hosted by President Bush in Washington,
D.C. on November 15. President Bush has consistently urged progress
in the dialogue and called on Hu to meet directly with the Dalai
Lama, a position also taken by his successor, President-elect Barack Obama.

This press release can be found online at

Press contact:
Kate Saunders
Communications Director, ICT
Tel: +44 7947 138612
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
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