China says talks on Tibet only with Dalai Lama’s representatives; rules out dialogue on autonomy

05:27 PM Apr 26, 2024 | PTI |

Beijing: China on Friday said it will talk only with the representatives of the Dalai Lama and not the officials of the Tibetan government in exile based in India but ruled out dialogue on the highest Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader’s long-pending demand for autonomy for his remote Himalayan homeland.


Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin was reacting to reports of the back-channel talks between the Tibetan government-in-exile and the Chinese government when he said China regards the Tibetan government-in-exile based in Dharamshala as a “separatist” bloc.

“The so-called Xizang’s government-in-exile is a completely separatist political bloc. It is totally against the Chinese Constitution and laws. It is illegal,” Wang told a media briefing here. “No country has recognised it.”

On Thursday, Sikyong or the political head of Tibet’s government-in-exile, Penpa Tsering, told a visiting group of journalists in Dharamshala, India, “We have had back-channel (engagement) since last year. But we have no immediate expectations from it. It has to be a long-term (one).”

Insisting that the talks are “very informal,” the head of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) said, “I have my interlocutor who deals with people in Beijing. Then there are other elements also trying to reach out to us.”


According to Wang, the Chinese government has “two basic principles for contacts with this (Dalai Lama’s) group.” “First, we will only have talks with the representatives of the 14th Dalai Lama instead of the so-called representatives of the so-called government-in-exile or the so-called administrative centre,” Wang said.

Secondly, the topics for talks will be only for the arrangements and not for the “so-called autonomy” of Tibet, the main demand of the 88-year-old Dalai Lama.

“They should have some self-introspection and refrain from all activities sabotaging the stability of Xizang and go back to the right way so that we can move towards the next step,” Wang said without elaborating.

From 2002 to 2010, the Dalai Lama’s representatives and the Chinese government held nine rounds of dialogue that did not produce any concrete outcome. The Tibetan side pitched for genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people in line with the Dalai Lama’s ‘Middle-Way Policy.’ No formal talks have been held since after 2010.

In Dharamshala, another senior Tibetan leader indicated that the back-channel talks are aimed at reviving the overall dialogue process as it is the only way out to resolve the Tibetan issue.

The 14th Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 and came to India where he set up the government-in-exile at Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh.


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