Monday, January 25, 2010

Trying Again

The Tibetan Government In Exile is giving it another go:
His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy Lodi G. Gyari and Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen will arrive in China tomorrow for discussions with the representatives of the Chinese leadership. This is the ninth round of dialogue. The Envoys are visiting China after a gap of 15 months in the process that began in 2002.
The last talks reached a discouraging conclusion after Chinese officials dismissed a detailed proposal for Tibetan autonomy presented by Lodi Gyari in October 2008. The proposal didn't make any outrageous demands- for the most part it didn't extend beyond the laws currently on the books in China. How did the Chinese react?
"[The] Dalai Lama is seeking a legal basis for his activities of 'Tibet independence', 'semi-independence and 'independence in a disguised form'," Zhu said.

'Secondly, the Dalai Lama is scheming for a 'Greater Tibet', which has never existed," he said.
A nonexistent Greater Tibet? Which areas is he talking about?
Zhu said the so-called "Greater Tibet" included not only the whole Tibet Autonomous Region, but also a large territory of Qinghai Province, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Gannan in Gansu Province, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze and Aba in Sichuan Province, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Deqen in Yunnan Province and some other areas.
Oh ok, he's talking about the Tibetan regions of Kham and Amdo, in which Han Chinese have never been anything but a tiny minority, if that. Areas where even today, after more than 60 years of occupation, the population is still a majority Tibetan, the main language is still Tibetan, and the people still practice Tibetan Buddhism. I visited the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture last winter, and I can say that it's immediately evident upon arrival that the only thing Chinese about the area is the flag flying over government buildings... oh, and the People's Armed Police units patrolling the streets. How crazy is the Dalai Lama for insisting that these areas be included in the negotiations, right?!

Best of luck to the Tibetan delegation- they're going to have their work cut out for them.

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