By Chime Tenzing
Zhu Weiqun with His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Special Envoy Lodi Gyari during the eighth round of talks in Beijing (File photo)
Dharamsala, October 22 – China has categorically outlined three major preconditions to resume future talks with the Dalai Lama’s representatives. Zhu Weiqun, Vice Minister of the United Front Work Department, the Chinese government department in charge of talks with representatives of His Holiness Dalai Lama, said the door for talks with China is always open but only if the Tibetan side fulfills three conditions. Zhu was speaking in an interview to German magazine Focus
on September 22, 2009 in Beijing.
(The lengthy interview was published by Xinhua, the state run news agency. Going by the language and vocabulary used in the English version, it appears that the interview had been translated by Xinhua from the original in Chinese, and that it is not a publication of the German magazine.)
Zhu, who had met the Tibetan leader’s Special Envoy Lodi Gyari during past round of talks, badgered the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile with a series of accusations including – attempts to sabotage Beijing Olympics in 2007, inciting last year’s riot in Tibet and stalling ‘talks’ with China by the envoys of the Dalai Lama. Zhu said it was not China who stopped the talks but the Tibetan side who it blamed for breaking the talks twice last year.
It said the Dalai Lama’s side must firstly explain to China why the Tibetan side stopped contacts with the Chinese government last year.
Zhu said the Tibetan side must ‘thoroughly and sincerely reconsider their political outlines and make corrections’ in the memorandum of genuine autonomy
that the Tibetan side submitted during the last round of talks.
The Dalai Lama should stop travelling to the west as it jeopardizes China’s friendly relations with other countries, Zhu said, accusing the Tibetan leader of engaging in political activities in those countries.
Zhu said the Tibetan leader’s future could be discussed only if he drops his separatist stance and behaviors. “If he still sticks to "Tibet independence", "semi-independence", or "covert independence", there is nothing to talk about.” However, the Tibetan leader has said in the past that it is not about his future but the talks concern the Tibetan people’s future.
Speaking last week to the Voice of Tibet
radio service, the exile Tibetan government’s spokesperson Thubten Samphel, refuted China’s claims saying it was not the Tibetan side who stalled the talks and that the Chinese side was not willing to discuss the memorandum that the Tibetan envoys presented.
On changing the Tibetan government’s policy, he said there is no way for that to happen because the government policy was a mandate of the Tibetan people and can be changed only through a democratic process.
On the Tibetan leader’s visits abroad, he said His Holiness the Dalai Lama visits the countries not due to his personal choice but on invitation from various organizations and groups as a religious figure and a messenger of peace. China should question those who invite His Holiness, not us, he said.
The Tibetan leader has given priority to bilateral relations between the countries he visits and China, and had said that his visits should not hinder the bilateral ties of the concerned countries with China.
Talks between His Holiness the Dalai Lama's envoys and Beijing came to a standstill after a "Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People” submitted by the Tibetan side at the eighth round of talks in October last year was met with Beijing’s derision. China accused the Tibetan side of seeking “disguised independence” through the “so called autonomy”.
The Tibetan side, however, maintains that the articles of the memorandum were prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and its laws on National Regional Autonomy.