(AFP) – Nov 6, 2008
BEIJING (AFP) — A senior Chinese official told envoys of the Dalai Lama during talks in Beijing this week that any type of independence for Tibet was not an option, even "semi-independence", state media said on Thursday.
"Regardless of the time or the circumstances... Tibet independence is out of the question," said Du Qinglin, a top Communist party official in charge of relations with non-communist groups, the Xinhua news agency reported.
"Semi-independence is out of the question. Independence in disguise is out of the question," Du was quoted as telling the envoys "recently".
The Dalai Lama has long championed a "middle path" policy with China which espouses "meaningful autonomy" for Tibet, rather than the full independence for the remote Himalayan region that many younger, more radical activists demand.
Envoys of the Tibet spiritual leader, who has lived in exile for nearly half a century, ended two days of talks Wednesday with Chinese officials in Beijing on the future of Tibet.
Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, Kelsang Gyaltsen and three aides left for the Chinese capital on October 30 but only began formal discussions on Tuesday, according to the Tibet government-in-exile in India.
During their visit, the envoys were taken to the Muslim autonomous region of Ningxia by Chinese authorities to demonstrate Beijing's handling of minority concerns, according to the exiled administration.
Du's official title is director of the Communist Party's United Front Work Department.
The department, traditionally charged with handling ties with organisations outside the party, represents China in meetings with Dalai Lama envoys.
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