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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Dalai Lama Says No Early Decision on Talks With China

November 25, 2008

By James Rupert
November 23, 2008

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, said he will make no
early decision about further talks with China, after his government
announced yesterday they will be cut off. "Wait a month" and "then
we'll see" whether the Tibetan side will find a basis on which to
propose further contacts, the Dalai Lama told journalists today at
his headquarters in the north Indian town of Dharamshala.     The
Dalai Lama spoke a day after a special assembly of Tibet's exile
community decided to break off talks that have yielded no progress
toward resolving Tibetans' demands China loosen its 57-year-old grip
on the mountainous Central Asian region. China says the demands for
autonomy are a prelude to seeking full independence and breaking up
the Chinese state.     Following anti-Chinese riots in Tibet this
year, the collapse in negotiations underscores that "hardliners on
both sides are reinforcing each other," said Huang Jing, a Chinese-
American political science professor at Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew
School of Public Policy. China faces a growing risk of wider upheaval
in Tibet, especially after the death of the Dalai Lama, Huang and
other analysts have said.     The 73-year-old Dalai Lama has slowed
his schedule in recent years due to fatigue, but appeared vigorous
today and said he had recovered quickly from gall bladder surgery last month.


The Dalai Lama addressed about 600 delegates to the special assembly,
which met last week and endorsed his decision to pursue autonomy
within China, rather than independence, as the Tibetans' goal.
China's suppression of Tibetan identity and environmental damage to
mountain landscape threatens Tibetans' culture, he said.

He encouraged Tibetans to build friendships with ethnic Han Chinese.
"My faith toward the Chinese people has never been shaken," he said,
though his faith in China's government as a negotiating partner has
grown "thinner and thinner."

He said he pursued negotiations until early this month because he
hoped that China's government might be more flexible after Tibetan
protests in March. "I received contradictory information" about
whether Chinese leaders were interested in talks, adding that he had
"maybe too much expectation at that time."

The Dalai Lama, whom Tibetans regard as a reincarnated Buddha, has
insisted on a non-violent campaign for Tibetan rights. His advancing
age and the collapse of negotiations have raised concern over the
stability of Tibetan areas when he dies, Huang and other analysts say.

The Tibetan leader's death would create a significant political
vacuum for the 6 million Tibetans inside China and the 150,000 in
exile, said Tashi Choephel, a researcher at the Tibetan Center for
Human Rights and Democracy in Dharamshala.


'The death of the Dalai Lama will be potentially disastrous, not only
for the hopes of Tibetans but for the question of whether China can
continue as overlord of Tibet," said Robbie Barnett, a professor of
Tibetan studies at Columbia University in New York.     "The Chinese
government may be misjudging, thinking that the Tibetan issue will be
easier to solve after the Dalai Lama dies," Choephel said. So "they
are not willing to negotiate and make concessions now."     Recent
Chinese and Tibetan statements have shown how far apart the two sides
are. The Tibetan exile government repeated that its autonomy demands
fall within the limits of the Chinese constitution. China's official
news agency, Xinhua, responded with a 3,700-word essay on Nov. 21
that accused the Tibetans of trying to create a "covertly
independent" political entity controlled by the Dalai group on soil
that occupies one quarter of the Chinese territory, and when
conditions are ripe, they will seek to realize "total Tibet independence."

Independence Goal

Tibetan activists agree that independence is their eventual goal, and
a growing demand for independence marked the past week of debate in
the exile's assembly, said Tenzin Tsundue, 33, a delegate in the
meeting.     The essay by Xinhua, which reflects China's government
view, said China had agreed to talks with the Dalai Lama's envoys
solely on the topic of "the Dalai Lama completely giving up
separatist propositions and activities and his seeking forgiveness
from the central government and all Chinese people for his own
future." The essay added, "We will never discuss with them anything
like the 'Tibet issue'."

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