VARIOUS/FILE: Beijing rules out talks with Tibetan government-in-exile's new Prime Minister
- Title: VARIOUS/FILE: Beijing rules out talks with Tibetan government-in-exile's new Prime Minister
- Date: 20th May 2011
- Summary: DAMSHUNG, TIBET AUTONOMOUS REGION, CHINA (FILE - JUNE 2011) (REUTERS) SHEEP GRAZING ON GRASS TIBETAN FARMERS STANDING ON GRASSLAND MAN WALKING IN FRONT OF MINERAL WATER BOTTLING FACTORY TIBETAN WORKERS WORKING IN PLANT FEMALE WORKER WATCHING BOTTLES OF WATER ON CONVEYOR BELT LHASA, TIBET AUTONOMOUS REGION, CHINA (FILE - JUNE 2011) (REUTERS) BEIJING TO LHASA TRAIN ARRIVING AT PLATFORM PEOPLE WALKING OFF TRAIN
- Reuters ID: LVAAMKDGMG2HTSA466QXYMDX8AFG
- Location: China
- Country: China
- Duration: 00:00:34
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- Topics: International Relations,Domestic Politics
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- Story Text: With 60 years of Communist China's rule approaching, China effectively ruled out dialogue with the Tibetan government-in-exile's new prime minister on Thursday (May 19), saying it will only meet with representatives of the Dalai Lama and will limit any talks to the Tibetan spiritual leader's future.
May 23, 2011 marks 60 years since China and the then government of the high mountain region signed the Agreement for the Liberation of Tibet, which proceeded the People's Liberation Army's final advance on the capital, Lhasa.
An anti-China uprising in 1959 led to retaliatory attacks that saw the Dalai Lama flee into exile in India where he has resided ever since.
Sixty years on, the Chinese national flag still flies high over the Potala Palace, the spiritual leader's former seat.
China lauds progress in Tibet, but massive investment in the remote region has failed to prevent unrest, and security has been heavy in many Tibetan areas in recent years.
Over the past ten years, Beijing says it has spent over 300 billion yuan (46 billion U.S. dollars) on the region.
In January 2010, President Hu Jintao said the government would seek "leap-frog" development in Tibet, raising rural incomes to national levels by 2020.
Padma Choling, recently appointed chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, said the Dalai Lama's insistence that China took Tibet by force in 1951 was untrue.
"Now that the Dalai Lama is not in China, he has been distorting historical facts, and calling the peaceful liberation an invasion of Tibet by the People's Liberation Army. He is totally distorting history, with an alterior motive. In truth he is using it as an excuse to try and split the central government and conduct other separatist activities," he said.
China regards the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist responsible for stirring unrest in Tibet. He denies supporting violence or wanting independence, saying he only seeks true autonomy for his homeland.
Ethnic tensions flared up riots in Lhasa and other ethnically Tibetan areas in March 2008, with Tibetans attacking Han Chinese migrants and their businesses.
In mid-April 2011, hundreds of ethnic Tibetan people had gathered at the Kirti monastery to try and stop authorities moving out monks for government-mandated "re-education", exiled Tibetans and activists said. This prompted armed police to lockdown the monastery with as many as 2,500 monks inside.
Human Rights Watch said, Chinese security forces reportedly used excessive force to end the protest at the monastery, including beating up locals and deploying attack dogs against them.
Padma Choling repeated China's denial of any unrest.
"As I have said before, I haven't seen any unrest in Tibet. But the development of Tibet, as I said before, has been earth shaking, a huge change. But as I also said, in the course of development we really have met with some specific difficulties and problems, because our wish is to live happy and prosperous lives," he said.
The Nobel Peace Prize-winning Dalai Lama said in March he would relinquish the four-century old tradition of political guidance in favour of a popularly elected leader by the Tibetan diaspora.
In giving up his political powers, the 75-year-old has made it more difficult for China to influence the course of the independence movement after his death, analysts say.
The new prime minister, the 42-year old, Harvard law scholar, Lobsang Sangay has hinted in the past he could move beyond the Dalai Lama's "middle way" policy of negotiating for autonomy for Tibet from China.
"Our national flag, we are very proud of it, and we want to hoist this flag on the rooftop of the Potala Palace. That's our goal," Sangay said in a recent interview.
Sangay used to be a leader of the Tibetan Youth Congress, which demands complete independence.
Sangay has said he would talk to the Chinese government "anytime, anywhere" however, Beijing has ruled out talks, saying it will only meet with representatives of the Dalai Lama.
"The central government's attitude towards this is consistent and clear. The government only discusses the issue of the Dalai Lama and people around him, and not the so-called government in exile. They are in no position to discuss anything with us. This is an illegal organisation," Padma said.
The Tibetan government-in-exile, which sits in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala, fears China will use the thorny issue of succession to split the movement.
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