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Tibet freedom move will fail: China
BEIJING, NOV 18 (Agencies):
Published on 18 Nov. 2008 11:19 PM IST
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China insisted on Tuesday that any effort by Tibetan exiles to seek independence for their homeland would fail, as they held talks in India on a new strategy for their campaign against Chinese rule. “Our position on Tibet is clear and resolute. Any attempt to separate Tibet from China is doomed to fail,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters. “The so-called Tibetan government-in-exile is not recognised by any government in the world.” Qin’s comments come as Tibetan leaders are meeting this week in the first major re-evaluation of their strategy since the Dalai Lama in 1988 outlined his “middle way,’’ which pushes for autonomy but not outright independence for Tibet. The meeting in India comes after the Dalai Lama expressed frustration over years of fruitless talks with China. Earlier today, the prime minister of Tibet’s exiled government said that leaders would push for Tibetan independence if a key meeting of exiles this week decides to drop the Dalai Lama’s measured path of compromise. More than 500 Tibetan exile leaders held ``emotionally charged’’ closed door discussions as part of a pivotal weeklong meeting, said Samdhong Rinpoche, the exiled prime minister. At the meeting, “there are mixed feelings, frustration, hope and determination to do something, but it’s not very clear what to do,’’ said Rinpoche. The Dalai Lama has expressed frustration over years of fruitless talks with China and prominent Tibetan leaders have said the conciliatory approach ``has failed.’’ Rinpoche said the meetings that began on Monday could lead to a dramatic new path for the Tibetan movement. ``If the outcome of the present meeting is we should switch over from the ‘middle way’ to independence, we will gladly follow that,’’ Rinpoche said Tuesday. He said any decision made this week would be taken to the exile parliament, which will have the final say. ``We are sincerely committed to a genuine democratic system to reflect public opinion,’’ he said. China insists Tibet has been part of its territory for 700 years, although many Tibetans say they were effectively independent for most of that time. Chinese forces invaded shortly after the 1949 communist revolution and the Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 amid an unsuccessful uprising. Large numbers of Tibetans remain fervently Buddhist and loyal to the Dalai Lama. If the exiles choose a more confrontational approach, Tibetans living under Chinese rule would bear the brunt of any government response. Much of the debate is expected to boil down to two main choices: whether to continue pursuing the politics of compromise or to begin a long-shot independence movement, a move almost certain to end talks held intermittently with Beijing since 2002. Any deviation from current policies was almost certain to scuttle the tenuous ties with Beijing, which has long accused the Dalai Lama of fomenting an independence movement. The Dalai Lama’s envoys to the recent talks with Beijing said in a statement on Sunday that they had presented China with a detailed plan on how Tibetans could meet their autonomy needs within the framework of China’s constitution. The plan calls for the protection for the Tibetan language and culture, restrictions on non-Tibetans moving into Tibet and the rights of Tibetans to create an autonomous government. But China apparently rejected the plan. Chinese officials said no progress was made in the talks two weeks ago, calling the Tibetan stance ``a trick’’ and saying it lacked sincerity.

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