By Tenzin Dharpo
Ambassador to China Terry Branstad meeting with Wu Yingjie, Communist Party secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region, in Lhasa on May 22, 2019. photo- US embassy
DHARAMSHALA, May 29: Days after US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad urged Beijing to hold talks with the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama to resolve the Tibetan issue, a Chinese government spokesperson has reiterated the Chinese government reluctance to hold talks.
US envoy made a rare visit to occupied Tibet last week, following which he called on China to hold “substantive dialogue” with the exiled leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama without “preconditions” and halt the state heavy-handedness on the Tibetan people’s freedom to religion. Chinese government spokesperson Lu Kang told the media on Tuesday that Beijing “firmly opposes any foreign interference in Tibet affairs in China's domestic affairs."
Kang also said that the US envoy was briefed on “the Chinese government's policy on dialogue and contact with the Dalai Lama” which is marked by the stark absence of any since 2010, at least publicly. Beijing’s reluctance to resume talks have been persistent despite both the Dalai Lama and the exile Tibetan government’s insistence over the years.
The ‘middle way approach’ championed by the Dalai Lama and the official stance of the Central Tibetan administration has been rejected by the Chinese government. Speculations over the years of behind-the-door meetings such as the former PM of the exile Tibetan government Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche’s visit to China in 2017 or the recent claim by a book that the Dalai Lama and Xi jinping agreed to meet in 2014 have both been rejected by Tibetan authorities.
Talks between Beijing and the Tibetan side have stalled since 2010 after nine rounds of meeting. The two envoys, Lodi G. Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen resigned in June 2012 citing lack of genuine conviction to resolve the issue from Beijing.
On Monday, while speaking to a group of Tibetans here, the Dalai Lama reiterated that Tibetans are no longer calling for independence but rather seeking autonomy within the Chinese framework. The ageing Tibetan leader added that the incorporation of Tibet, a historically independent nation can benefit from China’s economic leap and in return, Tibet’s spiritual treasure can help millions of Chinese Buddhists.