Friday, February 12, 2010

Chronological facts of Sino-Tibetan Dialogue in 2002

compiled by Tenzin Lekshay

March 7, 2002 Lodi Gyari, Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Hearing on U.S. Policy Considerations in Tibet House Committee on International Relations assured to work very hard and sincerely to start a dialogue leading to negotiations. U.S. State Department's Tibet coordinator, Paula Dobriansky warned, "If the Chinese government fails to engage with the Dalai Lama, who vigorously seeks dialogue and a mutual solution, Tibetan resistance could intensify and the potential for political upheaval could grow."

March 10, 2002 His Holiness the Dalai Lama stated during the 43rd Tibetan National Uprising Day, “I truly believe that one day, there will be the chance of dialogue and peace because there is no other choice for China or for us. The present state of affairs in Tibet does nothing to alleviate the grievances of the Tibetan people or to bring stability and unity to the People’s Republic of China. Sooner or later, the leadership in Beijing will have to face this fact.” His Holiness reiterated that he is not seeking independence. As I have said many times before, what I am seeking is for the Tibetan people to be given the opportunity to have genuine self-rule in order to preserve their civilisation and for the unique Tibetan culture, religion, language and way of life to grow and thrive. For this, it is essential that the Tibetans be able to handle all their domestic affairs and to freely determine their social, economic and cultural development.

March 11, 2002 Legchok, Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region Government, who was in Beijing to attend the Fifth Session of the Ninth National People's Congress - expressed anger at Dobriansky's statement. He rejected Dobriansky’s claim as "indiscreet remarks and blind judgement" which were not based on the facts. Further, he criticized His Holiness for engaging in propaganda aimed at misleading world Opinion. He said, “The Dalai and his followers have no authority to represent the Tibetan people. The regional government will never relax its fight against separatism.” He also said that the central government's policy has been clear and consistent: The Dalai must give up his pro-independence position, stop his separatist activities and make a public announcement agreeing that Tibet is an inalienable part of China, that Taiwan is part of China and that the People's Republic of China is the country's sole legal government.

March 14, 2002 German Parliament adopted a resolution on Tibet titled, "Human Rights and Development in Tibet" and called upon the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China to "press for a direct dialogue to be taken up with the Dalai Lama, with the aim of negotiating a Statute on Tibet that would be based on the Tibetans' right to self-determination and guarantee them extensive rights of autonomy within the structure of the People's Republic of China." German Bundestag considered that a direct dialogue, as proposed by the Dalai Lama, to be indispensable to a lasting political solution. It would be a great gain for China and the people who live in China if the dialogue about the situation in Tibet were to commence without delay and lead to a lasting political solution.

June 20, 2002 Losang Toinzhub, Vice Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region's People's Congress told [Joachim] Schmillen, head of the planning staff of the German Foreign Ministry on his visit to Lhasa that "The Central Government's policy for the Dalai Lama is consistent, clear, and definite. The key to whether it carries out talks with the Dalai Lama is founded upon whether or not the Dalai Lama gives up his stance of splitting the motherland." He stressed that as long as the Dalai Lama genuinely gives up the stance of Tibet independence and splitting China, and acknowledges that Taiwan is a province of China, then the Tibetan people will welcome his return. If the Dalai Lama stubbornly insists to the end, then there is no way out of the predicament.

July 01, 2002 Gyalo Thondup, the elder brother of Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who has acted as an envoy between Beijing and the Dalai Lama in the past visited Beijing on July 1, then to Lhasa on July 3-12, and to his native Amdo Prefecture--now Qinghai Province--and finally to Xinjiang Province in northwestern China. His entire journey lasted about three months. Thondup hopes for frank talks with Chinese and Tibetan authorities about China's often heavy-handed treatment of the Himalayan territory. Exile Tibetan Government welcomed the Chinese approval of permitting Gyalo Thondup to travel to China and Tibet, which could be a helpful measure to clear doubts that is rifting Beijing and Dharamsala apart. Gyalo Thondup later stated "I discussed two major issues with the Tibetan Autonomous Region Officials. First, Buddhist monasteries must be thoroughly renovated and the special qualities of the Tibetan race, culture, and language maintained. Second, Tibetans inside and outside Tibet should be allowed to move freely and communicate without restrictions." He saw a great hope of Tibetan situation in future and said he urged Chinese authorities to meet personally with Tibetan exile leaders, preserve Tibetan culture, and permit Tibetans to travel and communicate freely.

July 14, 2002 Per Gahrton, a Swedish Parliamentarian and Vice Head of a 20 strong European delegation to China urged China's Parliamentarian head Li Peng and Vice Premier Qian Qichen for a dialogue between Beijing and the exiled government of the Dalai Lama. But, China insisted that the Dalai Lama’s October 24, 2001 Strasbourg speech was not enough to start a talk and also were not ready for the talk.

August 09, 2002 Guo Jinlong, Tibet Autonomous Region Party Secretary said that the policy of the Central Government towards the Dalai Lama is very clear. He repeated China's long-standing preconditions for talks with the Dalai Lama: that he should renounce independence and separatist activities and admit Tibet and Taiwan are inseparable parts of China. He even criticized The Dalai Lama by saying "We believe the Dalai is hypocritical in terms of religion. He makes use of religion to carry out activities to split China."

September 02, 2002 Kashag on 42nd Tibetan Democracy Day urged “all the Tibetans to extend their support towards the realization of a united existence of the three provinces with genuine autonomy and proper democratic system through a negotiated settlement with leadership of Beijing on the basis of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Five Point Peace Plan and Strasbourg Proposal.”

September 09, 2002 A Four member Tibetan delegation headed by Special Envoy Lodi Gyari and Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen visited China (Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai) and Tibet (Lhasa, and areas in Nyingtri and Shigatse) and returned to Dharamsala, India, on September 27, 2002. The purpose of the visit was two fold: First, to re-establish direct contact with the leadership in Beijing and to create a conducive atmosphere enabling direct face-to-face meetings on a regular basis in future. Secondly, to explain His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Middle Way Approach towards resolving the issue of Tibet.

Among the Tibetan officials they met were Mr. Ngapo Ngawang Jigme, Vice Chair of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC); Mr. Ragdi, the Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region People's Congress and Deputy Party Secretary; Mr. Legchok, Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region Government and Deputy Party Secretary; Mr. Samdup, Head of the Tibet Autonomous Region United Front Work Department; and Mr. Atrin, Vice Chair of the Sichuan Province Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. In Beijing they met Mr. Wang Zhaoguo, Vice Chair of the CPPCC and the Head of the Central United Front Work Department and Mr. Li De Zhu, Minister for Nationalities Affairs and Deputy Head of the United Front Work Department.

17 September 2002 Kong Quan, China’s foreign ministry spokesman commented that there is no change in (China) policy. He said that “As long as the Dalai Lama stops his separatist activities and recognizes that Tibet is an inalienable part of China, that Taiwan is also a part of China and that the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing China... then we can have talks with the Dalai Lama.” These are the three pre-conditions of opening up dialogue which were earlier set by Chinese President Jiang Zemin in 1997. He reiterated that Gyari and his four-member delegation were on a private visit to meet with relatives and tour the region. Legchok, Chairman of the Tibet Regional Government, held an hour-long talk with émigré delegations on 14 September and informed them of the changes and economic development in Tibet in the past 50 years.

September 18, 2002 The Tibetan Parliament in exile urged the Indian government to actively support the five-point peace plan offered by spiritual leader Dalai Lama for genuine autonomy for Tibet and its demilitarization and denuclearization to make the region a zone of peace. Gyari Dolma, Deputy Speaker addressed the press conference calling for right of self-determination to the Tibetan people to protect their distinct religious and cultural identity. She said it was in fast a right to ‘self-rule’ with some areas like defense, currency and external affairs left to Chinese regime.

September 30, 2002 Welcoming Beijing’s positive gesture in receiving the Tibetan delegation to China, Kashag announced that the period till June 2003 would be devoted towards creating a conducive atmosphere for building on the new contact. In the appeal, Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, Kalon Tripa said, “I want to urge all Tibetans and friends of Tibet to refrain from public actions like rallies and demonstrations during President Jiang Zemin’s visit to the United States and Mexico (in October 2002).” He envisaged that “Now that there is an indication that the Chinese leadership may be willing to start discussing with us, we could use the opportunity of President Jiang's visit to test China's response.”

October 01, 2002 US President George W. Bush signed the Tibet Policy Act (TPA) which established in law the position of the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues at the State Department with the central objective to “promote substantive dialogue between the government of the People’s Republic of China and the Dalai Lama or his representatives.”

October 10, 2002 The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution on Tibet by unanimous consent. The resolution (H. Res. 410) cited the recent trip by the Dalai Lama's Special Envoy, Mr. Lodi Gyari, to China and Tibet as a "welcome gesture," but it emphasizes the need for the Chinese government to enter into a dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives “in order to find a negotiated solution for genuine autonomy that respects the rights of all Tibetans.”

October 25, 2002 U.S. President George Bush asked Chinese President Jiang Zemin to begin dialogue with Tibetan leaders to resolve the Tibetan issue. While addressing the medias following their summit in the Bush Ranch in Crawford, Texas, President Bush said, "I also spoke of the importance of respecting human rights in Tibet and encouraged more dialogue with Tibetan leaders."

November 06, 2002 His Holiness the Dalai Lama during an appearance at Mongolian National University to accept an honorary degree spoke, "I am not seeking independence. I am seeking self-rule. I think that benefits both Chinese and Tibetan people." However on His Holiness visit to Mongolia, Legchok, Chairman of Tibet Autonomous Region Government was quoted in the Official China Daily by saying, “is further evidence that he (Dalai Lama) intends to spread his separatist views in the international arena under the cloak of religion." He also said that the Dalai Lama could ''never represent the Tibetan people,” and "Knowing that his separatist stance has no place in the world today where peace and development prevail, the Dalai Lama now adopts a new strategy of playing down separatist sentiments while trumpeting the highest degree of autonomy of the so-called 'greater Tibet'." Legqog said.

November 14, 2002 Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, Kalon Tripa addressed the Tibet Conference at European Parliament by saying “The present Chinese hard-line policy on Tibet is counterproductive and only exacerbates the Tibet problem.” But he also expatiated “Against this gloomy background, we welcome very much the recent positive developments in our relation with the Government of People's Republic of China. It is creating a breathing space in a tense and volatile situation.” He urged the European Parliament to appoint EU Special Representative for Tibetan Issues to help Tibet and China to resolve the Tibetan problem peacefully. Later, a resolution on Tibet was adopted at the European Parliamentarian Conference on Tibet in Brussels, Belgium.

November 17, 2002 The Tibetan government in exile has cautiously welcomed the appointment of China's new leader, Hu Jintao. An official statement from Dharamsala in India asks Mr Hu to use his wisdom to resolve the Tibetan issue gradually. Ms. Kelsang Takla, Secretary for International Relations, Tibetan government in exile said, "Because of the several changes that have taken place and continue to take place in China, one would imagine that if China's policy is to implement real change and improvement, then it should also be percolated in Tibet."

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