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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?"

Tibet Government-in-Exile Breaks Off Talks with China

November 24, 2008

By James Rupert
November 22, 2008

Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) -- The Tibetan government-in-exile, headed by the
Dalai Lama, is breaking off stalled negotiations with China over
Tibet's future, leaders of the exile parliament said today.

The exile government, based in northern India, "will not send envoys
for further contacts" with China after eight rounds of talks failed
to produce results, said Dolma Gyari, the deputy speaker of the exile

Future policy in the Tibetan campaign for greater autonomy from China
will be determined by the Dalai Lama and will always be nonviolent,
she and other parliament leaders said in the town of Dharamsala.

The decision to end talks was made by a "special general meeting" of
more than 500 delegates summoned by the Dalai Lama, 73, after China
rejected his proposal for "genuine autonomy" in the latest set of
talks this month in Beijing.

The meeting endorsed the Dalai Lama's "Middle Way" policy toward
China, which specifies a nonviolent campaign to win autonomy under
the Chinese constitution for Tibet, rather than independence.

Gyari and parliament speaker Karma Choephel summarized the decisions
for journalists after the close of the week-long meeting, and
declined to answer questions.

The meeting reflected growing frustration among Tibetans with their
inability to loosen China's 47-year-long rule of their Central Asian
mountain homeland.

Self-Determination, Autonomy

"Quite a number" of delegates said Tibetans should sharpen their
demand to include self-determination, rather than autonomy, if China
does not respond to their aspirations "in the near future," Choephel said.

A call for self-determination would effectively demand full
independence, say Tibetan activists such as Tenzin Tsundue, 33, a
delegate to the meeting. "The demand for autonomy is a policy, but
eventually, Tibet must become independent."

The Chinese People's Liberation Army seized control of Tibet in 1951
and China says it has since brought modern economic development to
the isolated and poor Himalayan region. China has settled millions of
ethnic Chinese in the region, while suppressing Tibet's language and
Buddhist religion in an effort to destroy Tibetan culture, says the
Dalai Lama's administration.

Periodic Suppression

Chinese forces have quickly suppressed periodic rebellions and
protests against China's rule, the latest in March and April. China
accused the Dalai Lama's government-in-exile of fomenting the violence.

"We reject this," Choephel said. "The causes of this uprising were
the misrule and bad policies of the Chinese government.''

The exile Tibetan authorities say more than 200 people died in the
protests and the subsequent crackdown by Chinese soldiers and police.
The crackdown continues eight months later, with more than 100 people
having been sentenced to prison, said Tashi Choephel, a researcher
with the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy.

China calls the Dalai Lama a "splittist," saying his demand for
autonomy within ethnic Tibetan regions is a veiled step toward independence.

"I have to accept failure, things are not improving in Tibet," the
Dalai Lama told journalists on Nov. 3. Since last year, that sense of
failure has spread in the Tibetan exile community, spawning a Tibetan
People's Uprising Movement that calls for "direct action to end
China's illegal and brutal occupation of our country."

To contact the reporter on this story: James Rupert in Islamabad at
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
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