Join our Mailing List

"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Statement by Lodi Gyari, Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, concerning the dialogue process with China

December 11, 2009

My attention has been drawn to an interview published in the Chinese
media by Executive Vice Minister Zhu Weiqun of the Central United Front
Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party on December 8, 2009
concerning our dialogue process.

We are currently under discussion with the Chinese leadership on the
next round of dialogue and so the timing and content of this interview
are perplexing. It is my understanding that the Chinese leadership is as
desirous as our side in continuing a discussion, which we hope will
ultimately lead to a mutually satisfactory negotiated solution to the
Tibetan issue.

During our fifth round of talks in February 2006, the Chinese side
clearly expressed appreciation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's position
not to seek Tibetan independence and of seeking a solution within the
framework of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China.

The Tibetan transcript from the recording of that meeting shows the
Chinese side terming His Holiness' position as a "Tamsangpo" ( good or
welcome news). It reads, "It is a welcome news that (the Dalai Lama) is
showing a gesture by saying that he wanted to resolve the problem on the
basis of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China." We looked
at this as a small but important progress in our dialogue process with
our counterparts. We felt that for the first time the Chinese side was
registering and taking due note of His Holiness' position in finding a
mutually acceptable solution. We have been highlighting the positive
aspect in our dialogue process and this was one such developments from
the Chinese side in the five years that had passed since the re-
establishment of our contact in 2002. It was this spirit that we
conveyed to His Holiness the Dalai Lama upon our return to Dharamsala.

At the same time the Chinese side drew our attention to various issues
that needed to be resolved. On our part we stated the willingness of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama to address all these concerns in a statement. We
even suggested that both sides have consultations on the formulation of
the statement in order to ensure that it will have the desired result in
achieving a breakthrough. There was no response from the Chinese side to
this initiative of ours.

Instead, from around May 2006 the authorities began intensification of
campaigns in Tibet, including launching of patriotic re- education
campaign. There was increased vilification of the person of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama and restrictions placed on peoples' religious activities.

Following the series of demonstrations in Tibetan areas in 2008, we had
two rounds of talks and one informal session with the Chinese
leadership. During the most recent 8th round held in November 2008 we in
fact presented a Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People
that clearly outlined the basic needs of the Tibetan people that can be
fulfilled even under the present Constitutional provisions of the
People's Republic of China.

The outright rejection of the Memorandum by the Chinese side, without
even looking into many of the points raised therein, did not leave any
scope for further contacts. However, His Holiness the Dalai Lama
continued to be committed to the dialogue process and impressed upon us
the need to take steps to reach out once again to the Chinese leadership.

So far, it has been all our initiatives that have been the basis of any
perceptible positive side to the dialogue process. It was at our
initiative that contact was re-established and continued since 2002.
Every time it has been our initiative that has started the process for
the rounds of discussions.

The February 2006 meeting was not the only occasion when the Chinese
side showed some positive development on His Holiness' position. During
the informal session in Shenzhen in May 2008, the Chinese side came out
with "Three Stops" (stop separatist activities, stop violence and stop
sabotaging the Beijing Olympic Games) directed at His Holiness. When we
rejected these charges, the Chinese side came up (during the subsequent
seventh round in July 2008) with "Four Not-to-Supports" (not supporting
activities that would disturb the Beijing Olympic Games; not supporting
plots inciting violent criminal activities; not supporting and
concretely curbing violent terrorist activities; not supporting activity
seeking Tibetan independence.) as a replacement saying that this was
being done positively because they considered our point that His
Holiness was not indulging in the activities mentioned in "Three Stops"
(one of which related to independence). Therefore, changing from "Three
Stops" to "Four not-to-Supports" was an indication that the Chinese
leadership acknowledged that His Holiness was not indulging in Tibetan
independence activities.

The recent statements coming from Beijing, therefore, reminds me of an
advice given to me by a Chinese Professor who was involved with the
Tibetan issue for many years while serving the Chinese Government. He
said that we should not expect the Chinese leadership to have the
political courage to remove the hat of separatism from His Holiness the
Dalai Lama even though they clearly are aware that he is not working in
that direction. The professor told me that if the Chinese side were to
remove such a hat from him, then they would not be able to justify to
the Chinese people their current policies in Tibet or on the return of
His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

Time and again, the Chinese side has been the one that has been
cautioning us from negotiating through the media. They contend that we
should take things up directly and face to face. But we see it is the
Chinese side that is increasingly coming up with obstacles presented
through selective interviews to the media. During our seventh round held
in July 2008, the Chinese side portrayed the "Four Not-to-Supports"
positively in comparison to the "Three Stops." However, after our
meeting and even before we had reached India to brief His Holiness the
Dalai Lama, the Chinese side went to the media and gave a totally
negative message of their position.

We feel if the Chinese side is really serious in wanting to address the
grievances of the Tibetan people and to provide them with the same
rights that are provided for in the Chinese Constitution and the
relevant statutes on minority rights, we should do that through our
channel and across the dialogue table. His Holiness the Dalai Lama
continues to be committed to the dialogue process and we are ever ready
to continue the discussions.

Washington, D.C. December 10, 2009
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
Developed by plank