Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Why the Dharamsala-Beijing talks failed

Wu Yingjie
According to the pro-Beijing daily The Hindu, Wu Yingjie, the Deputy Secretary of the Tibetan Autonomous Region's Communist Party told a group of visiting Indian journalists that talks with the Dalai Lama were “ongoing and always smooth, but we are discussing only his future, not Tibet’s”.

Wu who, last year, spent several months fire-fighting in Nagchu prefecture, would have added: "All Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama and the people around him, can return if they accept Tibet and Taiwan as part of China, and give up ‘splittist’ efforts.”
When asked about the now-broken talks with Dharamsala, Wu affirmed that the Tibetan demands were unacceptable. “How can the Dalai Lama demand that China withdraw its army from Tibet?”
Wu is probably not aware that in the Dalai Lama's Middle Path approach, Foreign Affairs and Defense remains with the Central Government (Beijing).
Or perhaps, he just bluffed the gullible Indian journalists.
Regarding the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet, as early as 1981, the Dalai Lama had rejected the proposal as his fight was for 6 million Tibetans, not for his personal sake or future.
I quote from my book, The Negotiations that never were:
The answer of the Chinese government to the Dalai Lama’s letter to Deng came in July 1981 when Gyalo Thondup visited Beijing. He had a meeting with the CCP General Secretary Hu Yaobang on July 28, 1981 during which the parameters of the future negotiations were given.
From the Chinese side, this policy statement would guide all further talks; it only mentioned the status of the Dalai Lama and his future role in case he returned to the ‘motherland’.
Here is the text of the Five-Point Communiqué from Beijing:

1. The Dalai Lama should be confident that China has entered a new stage of long term political stability, steady economic growth and mutual help among all nationalities.

2. The Dalai Lama and his representatives should be frank and sincere with the Central Government, not beat around the bush. There should be no more quibbling over the events in 1959.

3. The central authorities sincerely welcome the Dalai Lama and his followers to come back to live. This is based on the hope that they will contribute to upholding China's unity and promoting solidarity between the Han and Tibetan nationalities, and among all nationalities, and the modernization programme.

4. The Dalai Lama will enjoy the same political status and living conditions as he had before 1959. It is suggested that he not go to live in Tibet or hold local posts there. Of course, he may go back to Tibet from time to time. His followers need not worry about their jobs and living conditions. These will only be better than before.

5. When the Dalai Lama wishes to come back, he can issue a brief statement to the press. It is up to him to decide what he would like to say in the statement.

This was not acceptable to the Dalai Lama and his exiled administration. The Tibetan leader wanted to talk about the happiness and the fate of his 6 million countrymen, not about his own status. This issue would be a recurring obstacle during the years to come.
Thirty-three years later, Beijing has not changed its stance.
It is the reason why the 'negotiations that never were' failed.

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