In a statement at the Tibet Intergroup Conference on Genuine Autonomy hosted by the European Parliament in Brussels, envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Kelsang Gyaltsen categorically said that China lacks “political will” in resolving the Tibet issue through negotiations on the proposed Middle Way Approach.
“Since the start of this dialogue in 2002, the Chinese side has been adopting a position of no recognition, no reciprocity, no commitment, no concession and no compromise,” Envoy Gyaltsen said in his statement titled, “The Sino-Tibetan Dialogue: State of Play and Perpectives”.
Calling China’s outright rejection of the “Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People” presented during the 8th round of discussions in November 2008 as “unfortunate”, Envoy Gyaltsen remarked that the Chinese side went as far as stating that “even the title of your memorandum is unacceptable”.
“How many times do we need to say,” Envoy Gyaltsen quoted the Chinese side as saying “that the Dalai Lama has no right to speak about the situation in Tibet or in the name of the Tibetan people?”
Terming the Tibetan decision to seek genuine autonomy as “courageous”, Envoy Gyaltsen specified that the single agenda since direct contact with the Chinese leadership was re-established in 2002 had been to seek genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people “under a single self-governing organ” within the Constitution of the PRC.
“Right from the first round of discussions in 2002, we proposed that both sides initiate measures that help building trust and confidence in our relationship,” Envoy Gyaltsen said.
The Europe based Envoy of the Dalai Lama recollected some of the confidence building measures that the Tibetan side suggested to the PRC, including requests for a stop to the denunciation and lifting the ban on the photographs of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, proposal to expand contact by allowing visits between Tibetans living in exile and in Tibet, and to arrange exchange visits by scholars and experts.
“Moreover, right at the beginning of our contact we had written to President Jiang Zemin, explaining, that our mission was to bring about a face-to-face meeting between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese leadership,” Envoy Gyaltsen said.
“To our deep disappointment, none of our suggestions and proposals were taken up or accepted by the Chinese side.”
Reflecting on the recent spate of self-immolations in Tibet and the “free reign with impunity” that the Chinese security and military authorities exercise over Tibet, Envoy Gyaltsen revealed that “as recently as two weeks ago” the Tibetan envoys had urged Beijing to meet at the earliest in order to explore ways to diffuse and calm down the situation in Tibet.
“We are, however, still waiting for a positive reply from Beijing,” Envoy Gyaltsen lamented.
Highlighting the important role that countries and independent bodies such as the EU play in today’s “heavily interdependent world”, Envoy Gyaltsen asserted that the issue of Tibet needed a “strong and unified message” by members of the international community.
“The Chinese leadership must be made to realise that the issue of Tibet cannot be suppressed and silenced unless it is properly addressed and resolved.”
Since direct contacts with the PRC were re-established in 2002, Special Envoy Gyari Lodi and Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen have had nine formal rounds of discussion and one informal meeting with Chinese representatives.
The last round of meeting was held in January 2010 in Beijing.