By Steve Herman
Professor Samdhong Rinpoche during a VOA interview, 20 Sep 2008. (VOA Photo: Y. Kalden)
Dharamsala - Tibet's government-in-exile wants China to account for the large number of Tibetans missing following the March uprising. But the head of the exile government tells VOA News there has been no communication with the Chinese since their last round of unfruitful dialog in July. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from Dharamsala in northern India, the headquarters of Central Tibetan Administration.
The prime minister of Tibet's government in exile wants Chinese authorities to give an accounting of the fate of Tibetans missing since the crackdown against those participating in anti-China demonstrations, which began in March.
In a VOA interview, Samdhong Rinpoche, who is the Kalon Tripa or prime minister of the Central Tibetan Administration, says it remains unclear how many Tibetans have been killed, injured or detained by Chinese authorities since the March uprising.
"A large number of Tibetans are still missing," he said. "A large number of monks and nuns who were taken away from Lhasa are still imprisoned in various untold places. We are hearing the unconfirmed news now they are beginning to release [them] but not allowing [them] to go back to the Lhasa monasteries."
The International Commission of Jurists has asked China to inform the United Nations Human Rights Council about the March uprising in Tibet and surrounding areas. The Commission says China's violent crackdown, included arbitrary executions, the use of excessive non-lethal force by the security forces and arbitrary detentions.
China has repeatedly accused the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, of fomenting riots and anti-China protests to disrupt this year's Beijing Olympic Games.
Tibetan authorities have feared an even-larger crackdown by the Chinese following the conclusion of last month's games. But the Kalon Tripa says there is no evidence of that yet.
"It is too early to say that now there is no danger," he said. "We shall have to wait and see. And particularly after the next round of dialog hopefully the things will be more clear."
Rinpoche is referring to the eighth round of dialog between his exile government and the Chinese government. It had been scheduled for October, but Rinpoche says it is questionable whether the talks will be held.
"After July contact there has not been any interaction with them, directly or indirectly," he said. "No dates have been confirmed."
Tibetan leaders say the Chinese made unacceptable demands on the Dalai Lama at the last round of talks. They say if the October dialog yields no progress, the Tibetans will likely not continue the discussions, which began six years ago.
Dharamsala, in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, has been the Dalai Lama's home since he fled Tibet in 1959 after China sent in troops there to suppress a revolt against its rule.