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<-Back to WTN Archives Gyalo Thondup Says Tibet-China Contact Should be a Two-Way Process
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World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Saturday, July 19, 2003

1. Gyalo Thondup Says Tibet-China Contact Should be a Two-Way Process

Friday, July 18, 2003

Gyalo Thondup, brother of the Dalai Lama and a former chairman of the
Tibetan Cabinet in Dharamsala, has said that visits of the envoys of the
Dalai Lama are positive, but that China should know that it is a two-way
traffic in terms of confidence building.

In an interview to Radio Free Asia's Tibetan service (it was broadcast in
parts from July 17, 2003) Thondup, whose meeting with Chinese leader Deng
Xiaoping in 1979 began a series of contact between Tibetans and the Chinese
leadership, said the visit of the Dalai Lama's envoys helped re-establish
contact and to fill the gap. Asked why the Chinese side publicly fail to
acknowledge that they are dealing formally with envoys of the Dalai Lama,
Thondup responded saying we should not pay much importance to their public
stance on this. The work will need to be done in stages and step by step, he

Thondup said the Tibetan problem could be solved only through face-to-face
meeting with Chinese leaders. He said at his personal level he has been
volunteering his service since 1952 to find a solution to the Tibetan
problem. Asked why he changed his approach in 1979 from leading a resistance
movement launched at his initiative to engaging with the Chinese, Thondup
said his experience showed that neither India nor the United States were
helpful in solving the Tibetan problem. He realized that it is only through
talks with the Chinese side that we can see progress.
Thondup supported Dharamsala's initiative at confidence building. He,
however, felt it should be a two-way traffic and said the Chinese leaders
could do more to make progress on the Tibetan issue. He said he had
criticized the Chinese side for banning the Tibetans from holding
incense-burning ceremony on the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
This is a religious ritual and the Chinese should allow this, he said.
Thondup blamed local leaders in Lhasa and Amdo, etc. for such actions saying
the senior leaders may not be aware of this.

He said during his meetings with the Chinese leaders in 1992 he told them
that he was thinking of abandoning his efforts to find a solution because he
did not see any movement on the Chinese side. The Chinese side asked him not
to do this and said it takes time and effort to kick the ball through the
goal post. When he was in Hong Kong he received a phone call saying a
message would be waiting for him at the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi. When
he returned to India from that trip (accompanied by Sonam Topgyal, a former
chairman of the Tibetan Cabinet), he was informed by the Chinese Ambassador
in New Delhi that Dharamsala should think of moving the Tibetan
Government-in-Exile to Lhasa to strengthen the government of the Tibet
Autonomous Region.

Thondup said this message was conveyed to the Tibetan leadership in
Dharamsala who wanted reconfirmation. When Thondup contacted the Chinese
Ambassador on this, his position had changed and the Ambassador said that
was only his personal view.

Asked about Dharamsala's announcement that there was just one channel of
contact between the Tibetans and the Chinese leadership, Thondup said his
efforts were at the personal level, but the issue that he took up was not
personal and concerned Tibet.

Thondup said China has changed much in the past 10 years and that he was
hopeful of the young leaders who have assumed office in China. Thondup urged
Tibetans to have an indepth understanding of China.

The last part of the interview is yet to be broadcast.

Articles in this Issue:
  1. Gyalo Thondup Says Tibet-China Contact Should be a Two-Way Process
  2. Tibean Activist Released, in Poor Health
  3. High dining Meditating over a meal at Om, where the roof of the world meets the Main

Other articles this month - WTN Index - Mail the WTN-Editors

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