Dharamsala : Two years since the talks between the Dalai Lama’s envoys and the Chinese for genuine autonomy for the people in Tibet hit a roadblock, Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile Lobsang Sangay is insisting on early resumption of the dialogue.
Sangay Saturday reiterated the commitment of his government-in-exile: “Dialogue and a peaceful resolution to the Tibet issue are in the best interest of China, the Chinese people and Tibetans.”
The last round of talks – the ninth – was held in Beijing in January 2010.
“We stand ready to send envoys to resume the dialogue process,” the Dalai Lama’s first political successor Sangay said here in an address to mark the 53rd anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day.
He called on Beijing to accept the ‘middle-way policy’, which favours genuine autonomy for Tibetans within the framework of the Chinese constitution.
“Hong Kong and Macao have been granted high degree of autonomy,” he said in reference to the two Chinese territories.
“Despite resistance from Taiwan, China has offered Taiwan more autonomy. Why are Tibetans still not granted genuine autonomy as stipulated in the Chinese constitution,” he asked.
He said the Dalai Lama’s envoys had clarified the Tibetan stand on autonomy during the talks in 2008 and 2010.
China and the Dalai Lama’s envoys have held nine rounds of talks since 2002 in efforts to resolve the Tibetan issue.
In November 2008, the discussion between the two sides collapsed after China’s rejection of the Tibetan demand for autonomy.
The government-in-exile submitted an “explanatory” note to the Chinese leadership in 2010 to clarify its stand on genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people.
China, however, said after the talks that the two sides had “sharply divided views as usual”.
Blaming the Chinese leaders for no major breakthrough in the talks, the 43-year-old said the Chinese envoy belonging to the United Front Work Department, has of late invested far more energy travelling around the world and making outrageous attacks on the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).
“In the process they have actually further internationalised the Tibet issue,” Sangay said.
But Lobsang pines for change in China’s ideology. “China’s upcoming leaders will initiate genuine change, and that they find the wisdom to admit the government’s long-standing hardline policy in Tibet has failed.”
Sangay took over the reins of the government Aug 8, 2011, from 73-year-old monk scholar Samdhong Rinpoche, who held the post for the past 10 years in two five-year terms.
For a peaceful resolution of the Tibetan issue, Sangay, once dubbed a “terrorist” by China because of his earlier association with the radical Tibetan Youth Congress, is pursuing the Dalai Lama’s advocacy of genuine autonomy for the people of Tibet.
“I have asked the two envoys of Dalai Lama to make efforts to resume the dialogue at the earliest convenience,” Sangay said after meeting the Tibetan task force members in October last year.
The task force was set up in 1999 to assist the envoys to hold talks with the Chinese.
Countries like the US and France in January have urged China to resume talks with the exiles.
“We call on the Chinese government to resume substantive, results-oriented dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives to address the underlying grievances of China’s Tibetan population,” said US Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues Maria Otero.
“Since late 1980s His Holiness the Dalai Lama remains committed to the ‘middle-way approach’, but China has not responded positively to the various peace proposals,” Lobsang Wangyal, a journalist and keen observer of Tibet affairs, told IANS.
The Dalai Lama fled Tibet along with many of his supporters and took refuge in India when Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa in 1959.
India is home to around 100,000 Tibetans.