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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

‘Tibet issue about all Tibetans, not just Dalai Lama’

July 20, 2008

Dharamsala, July 18th, 2008 (IANS) Rebutting Chinese assertions, the
Tibetan government-in-exile said here Friday that the issue of Tibet
concerns the future of six million Tibetans there and not just the
exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Chinese officials said
recently that the issue of Tibet is only about the Dalai Lama.

In response, the Tibetan government-in-exile said in a statement: “When
the Chinese government made a five-point proposal in 1981, which
included that the Dalai Lama will enjoy the same political status and
living conditions as he had before 1959, the Dalai Lama had made it
clear that the issue at stake was the well-being of six million Tibetans

A senior Chinese official has said that China is willing to talk to the
Dalai Lama about his future but not that of Tibet.

“The Chinese government will never discuss the future of Tibet with the
Dalai Lama,” said Dong Yunhu, director general of China’s state council
information office.

He explained that the reason behind China’s stand is the Dalai Lama’s
claim that he represents the Tibetan people.

“I don’t think he is qualified to represent Tibet. If he ever did, it
was before 1959,” Dong added.

In clarification, Chhime R. Chhoekyapa, secretary to the Dalai Lama,
stated: “We would also like to make it clear that the Tibetans,
including the Dalai Lama, do not even dream of restoring the old society
that prevailed in Tibet before 1959. As a matter of fact, democracy was
introduced in the exiled Tibetan community in 1960 through election of
representatives to the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (Parliament
in exile).

“Since 2001 Tibetans in exile have an elected political leadership and
the Dalai Lama considers himself in semi-retirement. However, he will
continue to fulfil his commitment to promote human values and religious

The Dalai Lama along with many of his supporters fled Tibet and took
refuge in India when Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa
in 1959.

The Dalai Lama has ever since been heading the Tibetan
government-in-exile from here.
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