The Dalai Lama, seen in this October 2003 file photo, greets people as he arrives for a news conference at a Paris hotel. China urged the Dalai Lama on Sunday to abandon his vision of an autonomous Tibet, squeezing already slim hopes of a political solution that might allow the exiled spiritual leader to return to his homeland. REUTERS/John Schults
BEIJING - China urged the Dalai Lama on Sunday to abandon his vision of an autonomous Tibet, squeezing already slim hopes of a political solution that might allow the exiled spiritual leader to return to his homeland.
In a long-winded "white paper" appeared aimed at reaffirming existing policy, Beijing ruled out the possibility that Tibet might be granted autonomy akin to that given Hong Kong and Macao under the contentious "one country, two systems" formula.
"The situation in Tibet is entirely different from that in Hong Kong and Macao," said the document, carried by the Xinhua news agency, in reference to the former British and Portuguese colonies returned to China in 1997.
"Since ancient times Tibet has been an inseparable part of Chinese territory, where the Central Government has always exercised effective sovereign jurisdiction over the region. So the issue of resuming exercise of sovereignty does not exist."
Chinese troops imposed Communist rule on Tibet in 1950 and the Dalai Lama fled nine years later after a failed uprising against them. China claims Tibet as part of its territory and accuses the religious leader of separatist activities.
The exiled spiritual leader, who has run a government-in-exile from India since 1959, says he wants a mutually agreeable solution which entails greater autonomy, and not independence, for Tibet.
In a slight softening of Beijing's position, Tibetan envoys have visited China on several occasions since 2002 as part of a contact-building process. In April, the Dalai Lama said his representatives would return again within months.
But Beijing, also angered last week by the presence of the Dalai Lama's at the inauguration of Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian, suggested the ageing Tibetan god-king was far from meeting Beijing's demands.
"It is hoped that the Dalai Lama will look reality in the face, make a correct judgment of the situation, truly relinquish his stand for 'Tibet independence' and do something beneficial to the progress of China and the region of Tibet in his remaining years."