Tibetan Envoy Lodi Gyari making a point during his meeting with Du Qinglin, Vice Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Minister of the Central United Front Work Department on July 1, 2008. To his right is Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen while to the left of Du Qinglin is Executive Vice Minister Zhu Weiqun of the Central United Front Work Department. (Photo – CTA/File)
BEIJING - A SENIOR Chinese official told envoys of the Dalai Lama during talks in Beijing this week that any type of independence for Tibet was not an option, even 'semi-independence", state media said on Thursday.
'Regardless of the time or the circumstances... Tibet independence is out of the question,' AFP reported Du Qinglin, a top Communist party official in charge of relations with non-communist groups, as saying in the Xinhua news agency report.
'Semi-independence is out of the question. Independence in disguise is out of the question,' Mr Du was quoted as telling the envoys 'recently'.
The Dalai Lama has long championed a 'middle path' policy with China which espouses 'meaningful autonomy' for Tibet, rather than the full independence for the remote Himalayan region that many younger, more radical activists demand.
Envoys of the Tibet spiritual leader, who has lived in exile for nearly half a century, ended two days of talks Wednesday with Chinese officials in Beijing on the future of Tibet.
The exiled Tibetan leader’s envoys for talks with Chinese officials Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari (R) and Kelsang Gyaltsen address a press conference in Dharamsala in July 2008. Envoys of the Dalai Lama, accompanied by three aides, ended two days of talks Wednesday with Chinese officials on the future of Tibet. (Phayul/File)
Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, Kelsang Gyaltsen and three aides left for the Chinese capital on October 30 but only began formal discussions on Tuesday, according to the Tibet government-in-exile in India.
During their visit, the envoys were taken to the Muslim autonomous region of Ningxia by Chinese authorities to demonstrate Beijing's handling of minority concerns, according to the exiled administration.
Mr Du's official title is director of the Communist Party's United Front Work Department.
The department, traditionally charged with handling ties with organisations outside the party, represents China in meetings with Dalai Lama envoys.