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<-Back to WTN Archives Blair must seize rare opportunity to push Hu Jintao for genuine dialogue with Dalai Lama, says Free Tibet Campaign
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World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Monday, July 21, 2003



6. Blair must seize rare opportunity to push Hu Jintao for genuine dialogue with Dalai Lama, says Free Tibet Campaign


Press Release 18 July 2003
Free Tibet Campaign

[Beijing] Free Tibet Campaign has called on UK Prime Minister Tony Blair,
who arrives in China on Sunday (20 July) for two days, to press for
unconditional dialogue on Tibet's future following two recent visits to
China by representatives of the Dalai Lama. The Prime Minister must ask Hu
Jintao, the new Chinese President, to drop the pre-conditions China
maintains must be met before real negotiations can begin on Tibet.

"This is a critical moment in Tibet's history, and Tony Blair has a rare
opportunity to make a positive impact in the progress of talks between
China's top leadership and the Tibetan Government in exile," said Alison
Reynolds of the Free Tibet Campaign, speaking in Beijing. "Amidst the
scrutiny of his government's policy on Iraq, here is a real chance for Blair
to make a difference in Tibet's long-standing peaceful struggle for
freedom."

Formal contact between Beijing and Dharamsala re-opened in September 2002
after a decade of diplomatic stalemate. Two visits by envoys of the Dalai
Lama to Beijing and areas in Tibet have taken place in the last ten months.
However there must be a commitment from China's most senior leaders to
maintain the momentum of the talks. An agreement to drop the pre-conditions
would demonstrate that the process is genuine, and that China is not merely
taking these steps to silence international criticism of its Tibet policy.

Tony Blair is expected to meet Hu Jintao, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and
former President and current Chair of the Central Military Commission Jiang
Zemin on Monday (21 July).

"Tony Blair must raise this issue directly with Hu Jintao, as the commitment
to push for genuine dialogue with the exiled Tibetans must come
from the very top of the Chinese Government," said Ms Reynolds.
"Furthermore, Hu has direct experience of Tibet, as Party Secretary in the
1980s when he oversaw the imposition of martial law. Given Hu Jintao's
hardline position in the past it would be unacceptable for Mr Blair to duck
the issue of Tibet with Mr Hu."

Contact: Alison Reynolds in Beijing, tel: + 86 (0) 1353 653 6867
In London: Anne Callaghan + 44 (0)7905 922 701 or + 44 (0)20 7833 9958

Note for editors:

China's preconditions for dialogue with the Dalai Lama are:
(i) the Dalai Lama must abandon his claim for the independence of Tibet
and stop all 'splittist' activities (he has done this for at least ten
years with the 'Strasbourg proposal' that called for 'genuine autonomy' for
Tibet).
(ii) the Dalai Lama must openly recognize Tibet as an inalienable part of
China.
(iii) the Dalai Lama must recognize Taiwan as one of China's provinces.
(iv) the Dalai Lama must recognize the government of the People's Republic
of China as the country's sole legitimate representative.


Articles in this Issue:
  1. India's Sikkim state lobbies for bus service with China's Tibet
  2. Blair avoids prickly issues in Beijing
  3. seeks trade and democracy in mission to China
  4. China leaves Blair in the cold with dinner date snub
  5. Blair avoids China's human rights record
  6. Blair must seize rare opportunity to push Hu Jintao for genuine dialogue with Dalai Lama, says Free Tibet Campaign



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