By Tenzin Dharpo
His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to Tibetan civil servants at Tsuglakhang temple on Oct. 6, 2019. Photo- OHHDL_Tenzin Choejor
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 7: On the much discussed issue of the vacant positions of the envoys for the Sino-Tibet dialogue, the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Sunday revealed that the decision to not appoint new envoys was a pre-emptive move to maintain the previously explored channels of communication with Beijing.
The Dalai Lama who gave up political authority to an elected leadership for the Tibetans said that he and the incumbent head of the polity and President of the Central Tibetan Administration Dr. Lobsang Sangay at the time discussed that appointing new envoys may result in outright rejection from Beijing.
“If we appoint envoys representing the exile administration, that may prompt Chinese leadership to reject them blatantly. The alternative is to explore the same channels of communication that were established through me and maintain that. I have been approached by influential Chinese businessmen and even government officials,” the Tibetan leader said adding that outright rejection of new envoys will be counter productive to the process.
Tibetan legislators have questioned the Tibetan President on the positions of the envoys that has remained vacant since June 2012 and how that may reflect absence of any dialogue between the two sides.
During the recently concluded session of the Tibetan exile parliament, Dr. Sangay said responding to a query from a law maker that, while there are no dedicated envoys appointed, Chinese section Secretary at the Dalai Lama’s private office Ngaba Tsegyam is assigned the role to liaise for dialogue between Chinese and Tibetan counterparts.
Last year, The Tibetan President said that while there is no official communication between the envoys of Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Beijing, “back channel talks” happen, indicating that track 1 and track 2 diplomacy is an occurrence between the Tibetan and Chinese counterparts.
The President of the Central Tibetan Administration in an interview with News18 on April 3, 2018 said, “There has been no official communication between China and the CTA since 2010. But there are back channel talks that happen. People keep coming from the Chinese side and we are very transparent with them.”
In June 2012, the two Special Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lodi G. Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, who had led nine rounds of talks with the People’s Republic of China since 2002, resigned from their positions. They cited the deteriorating situation inside Tibet and their “utter frustration” over the lack of positive response from the China as reasons for their decision to resign.