By Kalsang Rinchen
Tibetan PM Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche addresses an official function in Dharamsala on Wednesday, December 10 2008, as Tibetan exiles simultaneously commemorated the 60th World Human Rights Day and the 19th anniversary of the conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama (File Photo: Tenzin Dasel/Phayul)
Dharamsala, March 20, 2009 – The exile government’s first directly elected Prime Minister has said that his government's contact with China on Tibet’s future is not at a dead end.
The 70 year old former academician was responding to a question posed by a member of 14th Tibetan parliament yesterday at its ongoing seventh session.
“I don’t believe our contacts with China have broken”, he said.
Prime Minister Prof Samdhong Rinpoche was asked by Geshe Thupten Phelgye, MP, to clarify his position stated in his address on the 19th anniversary of the conferment of Nobel Peace prize on the Dalai Lama that his side has “already made all the required clarifications and brought a process of dialogue that began in 2002 to its logical conclusion.”
Rinpoche told the parliament that by “logical conclusion” he meant two things.
He said that a ‘roadmap’ for negotiation was made during a meeting of Task Force on Negotiation held at Gopalpur TCV School in 2004 whereby it was decided to follow the roadmap until 2007 and a review done by 2008. This, he said, was done as perceived. The second implication, he said, was that the Chinese side had asked the Tibetan delegation to clearly explain what the Dalai Lama meant by ‘genuine or meaningful autonomy’. This, the Tibetan PM said in his clarification, was done in form of a memorandum
presented during the eighth round of talks.
The Tibetan PM further said that the memorandum on genuine autonomy presented before the Chinese side has benefited immensely in making the Tibetan side’s position clear internationally since China always complained about the Tibetan side being vague in its dealings. The Tibetan PM said the memorandum clearly refutes the Chinese allegations that “we are seeking disguised independence”.
China categorically rejected the Tibetan side’s memorandum on genuine autonomy during the eighth round of talks calling it “an agenda of independence’.
Rinpoche said that it is the responsibility of his government to continue its efforts to reestablish contact with the Beijing leadership irrespective of whether China responds or not.