Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr
DHARAMSHALA, July 28: Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr on Friday said that autonomy for Tibet is a way of brining an end to the ongoing wave of self-immolations while hinting at signs from China that could give a “new lease of life” to stalled negotiations between Beijing and Dharamshala.
Addressing the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, Carr told reporters that negotiations on autonomy between Beijing and the Tibetan community are key to resolving the tensions and ending the spate of self-immolations by Tibetan protestors.
“Tibet is part of China,” Carr said, “but we believe there’s an opportunity for pursuing autonomy, and the autonomy negotiated between China and the Tibetan community is the way of seeing an end to the (self-immolations).”
Since 2009, as many as 120 Tibetans living under China’s rule have set themselves on fire demanding freedom and the return of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Carr noted that it is up to Beijing to determine if it should engage the Dalai Lama in autonomy negotiations, he admitted that “China has said things that encourage us to think that the talks could be given a new lease of life.”
The latest round of negotiations between Beijing and representatives of the Dalai Lama, which began in 2002 ended in 2010 without any remarked success. Last year, the two Envoys of the Dalai Lama, who led nine rounds of talks, resigned citing the deteriorating situation inside Tibet and their “utter frustration” over the lack of positive response from China.
Carr also expressed his hope that China will allow him and the Australian ambassador to visit Tibet and inspect the country’s aid projects in the region. Last year, China had refused a similar request by the Australian government for an investigative visit to Tibet.
“We would like, I and ambassador, to be able to travel in Tibet to talk to people and to inspect Australian-aid projects. We have got a fruitful dialogue with China about human rights matters and that include human rights matters that grow out of the tensions in Tibet and Tibetan regions,” Carr said.
The Australian Foreign Minister is currently on a 10-day trip to China that will also take him to Sichuan Province, Chongqing municipality and Fujian Province until Aug. 3