(AFP) – Jul 5, 2008
DHARAMSHALA, India (AFP) — Representatives of the Dalai Lama and China made no headway on the status of Tibet in talks this week, an envoy of the spiritual leader said Saturday, describing himself as "disappointed."
"There is a growing perception among the Tibetans and my friends that the whole tactic of the Chinese government is to engage us to stall for time," said Lodi Gyari, who led the two-man team which met Chinese officials in Beijing.
"My colleague and I told our Chinese counterpart candidly that we ourselves are beginning to inch towards this school of thought."
Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen met with a series of Chinese officials on Tuesday and Wednesday for the seventh round of a dialogue process that was started in 2002 but broke off last year.
Beijing agreed to restart the dialogue amid world criticism of its massive crackdown on deadly anti-Chinese riots that engulfed the Tibetan capital Lhasa in spring and spread across the Tibetan plateau.
The Beijing talks followed an informal meeting in May, also in China.
The Dalai Lama, who has said he opposes Tibetan independence, has called for "real and meaningful autonomy" for the region and an end to what he has said are widespread human rights violations against his people.
"The recent events in Tibet clearly demonstrated the Tibetan people's genuine and deep-rooted discontentment with the People's Republic of China's policies," said Gyari, who briefed the Dalai Lama earlier Saturday.
"We had hoped that the Chinese leadership would reciprocate our efforts by taking tangible steps during this round," said Gyari at a press conference in the Tibetan exile enclave of Dharamshala, in India's Himalayan foothills.
"On the contrary, due to their excessive concern about legitimacy the Chinese side even failed to agree to our proposal of issuing a joint statement with the aim of committing both parties to the dialogue process."
Gyari said the stance of the Chinese government had cast doubt on the benefit of continuing the talks.
"We were compelled to candidly convey to our counterparts that in the absence of serious and sincere commitment on their part the continuation of the present dialogue process would serve no purpose," he said.
But the envoys have agreed to at least one more round of talks in October, after Beijing hosts the Olympics in August, to gauge China's level of commitment in resolving concerns over Tibet, he said.
China's opponents accuse it of systematic political, cultural and religious oppression in the remote and devoutly Buddhist Himalayan region.
Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama of fomenting unrest in the Tibetan region that erupted on March 14 after four days of peaceful protests against Chinese rule.
The Tibetan government-in-exile says 203 Tibetans were killed and about 1,000 hurt in China's crackdown.
Beijing insists that only one Tibetan was killed, and has in turn accused the "rioters" of killing 21 people.
China has ruled Tibet since 1951, a year after sending troops in to "liberate" the region.
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