Home BREAKING NEWS Dialogue with Dalai Lama’s representatives only, not with Tibetan Government-in-Exile, says China

Dialogue with Dalai Lama’s representatives only, not with Tibetan Government-in-Exile, says China

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on April 26, 2024 (Photo/Chinadaily))

By Tsering Dhundup

Wang Wenbin foreign ministry spokesperson  said it would talk only with the representatives of the Dalai Lama and not the officials of the Tibetan government-in-exile, also ruling out dialogue on the long-pending demand for autonomy for Tibetan people.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin refuted reports of back-channel discussions between the Tibetan government-in-exile and the Chinese government by categorizing the Tibetan government-in-exile, headquartered in Dharamshala, as a “separatist” entity, during a press briefing in Beijing.

Wang stated that “The so-called ‘Tibetan government-in-exile’ is an entirely organised separatist political group with a political platform and an agenda for ‘Tibetan independence.’ It is an illegal organisation that violates China’s Constitution and laws. No country in the world recognises it,” Wang said.

Elaborating on China’s stand, Wang said the Chinese government has two basic principles when it comes to contact and talks. “First, we would only have contact and talks with the personal representative of the 14th Dalai Lama, not the so-called ‘Tibetan government-in-exile’ or the ‘Central Tibetan Administration.’ The Chinese government will not be dealing with it,” he said.

“Second, any contact or talks will only be about the personal future of the 14th Dalai Lama himself, or to the utmost extent, a handful of people close to him, not the so-called ‘high degree of autonomy for Tibet,’ Wang added.

He further stated “We hope the 14th Dalai Lama will have a right understanding of the central government’s policy, seriously reflect on and thoroughly correct its political propositions and actions, give up any activity aimed to disrupt the social order in Xizang (Tibet) and return to the right path. Only then can contact and talks be considered next,” he said. China calls Tibet as Xizang in its efforts to sinicize the name of Tibet on the global stage.

The Dalai Lama has, time and again, denied aspiration for independence, and instead called for autonomy for Tibet, which has subsequently been bifurcated into various prefectures by the Chinese government after taking it over in 1951.

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.”

His cabinet minister for Information and International Relations Minister Norzin Dolma on Thursday reaffirmed that there are back-channel talks with China that are aimed at reviving the overall dialogue process as it is the only way out to resolve the Tibetan issue.

The dialogue between Beijing and representatives of the Dalai Lama began with fact-finding Tibetan delegations visiting Tibet in 1979 and 1980, followed by exploratory talks in Beijing in 1982 and 1984. From 2002 onwards, nine rounds of discussions took place between envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and China’s United Front Work Department.

Throughout these talks, the Tibetan delegation advocated for genuine autonomy for Tibet by Chinese constitutional principles and the Law on Regional National Autonomy, culminating in the presentation of a Memorandum and Note to the Chinese leadership. However, the ninth and final round of talks occurred in 2010 and 2012, the Dalai Lama’s envoys resigned after the ninth round, citing the deteriorating situation in Tibet and a perceived lack of sincerity and willingness from the Chinese side.