Monday, July 7, 2008

Disparate Views

Talks between the Chinese government and representatives of the Dalai Lama didn't get very far as expected, just over 30 days before the Olympics.

The Chinese government even refused to give a joint statement with the Dalai Lama's side.

According to an Associated Press report, an envoy for the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama says the latest round of talks with China have been "one of the most difficult sessions" held so far. But Lodi Gyari says he will return for more discussions in a few months.

Gyari says he told his "Chinese counterparts very candidly that if there is not seriousness on their part it is almost pointless for (them) to waste each other's time" with more talks.

On the other hand, the Chinese side told Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen the Dalai Lama should openly and explicitly promise and prove it in his actions not to support activities to disturb the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games, not to support plots to fan violent criminal activities, not to support and concretely curb the violent terrorist activities of the "Tibetan Youth Congress" and not to support any argument and activity to seek "Tibet independence" and split the region from the country.

"If the Dalai Lama fails to meet such simple and rational requirements, it will be impossible to have necessary atmosphere and condition for next round of contact," said Du Qinglin, head of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China.

The Dalai Lama has already sent a several-page letter to the Chinese government, expressing his support for the Olympic Games and would not do anything to sabotage it.

He cannot completely control his supporters, but only try to tell them not to take a violent path. That is all he can do.

"The door for dialogue is always open and contacts will make positive moves as long as the Dalai Lama suits his actions with his words and truly practices the four 'not-to-supports'," Du said.

While the next round of talks aren't scheduled until before the end of the year, things may not progress much further when the Chinese side makes conditions for talks.

Perhaps the Chinese have a different version of bargaining in good faith.

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