Exiled Tibetans ask China to resume dialogue

A day after the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Tibet Autonomous Region, the democratically elected Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) on Friday asked him to resume dialogue between Tibetan representatives and the Chinese government.

XI’s visit to the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) on July 21-22 was the first since his taking charge as Chinese President in 2013.

Additional Secretary and CTA spokesperson Tenzin Lekshay said: “The Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Lhasa and Nyingtri with great pomposity. I think this is his first visit to Tibet as President.”

“With this visit, he should understand the real aspirations of Tibet and consider that the Tibet issue is a long-pending issue which is still unsolved. He should initiate resuming the dialogue between Tibetan representatives and the Chinese government.”

More than 60 years ago, some 80,000 Tibetans, along with their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, left Lhasa after a failed uprising against Communist rule over Tibet and fled to India. The Tibetan exile administration, called the CTA, is based in this northern Indian hill town, where the spiritual leader also lives.

China and the Dalai Lama’s envoys have held nine rounds of talks since 2002 to resolve the Tibetan issue.

In the last round of talks — the ninth — held in Beijing in January 2010, the CTA submitted an “explanatory” note to the Chinese leadership to clarify its stand on genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people.

On the conclusion of that round, the statement that the Chinese side issued said the two sides had “sharply divided views, as usual”.

The CTA believes in ‘middle-way’ approach, meaning greater autonomy for Tibet rather than outright independence.

Xi was also said to have visited Nyingtri, a region bordering Arunachal Pradesh, before coming to Tibet’s capital Lhasa on Thursday. In video clips released on social media, Xi was seen speaking to people on the street in front of the Potala palace.

Xi was accompanied by Wu Yingjie, Party Secretary of TAR, and Che Dalha, Chairman of TAR, and other officials.

Many assume this visit is linked to the 70th anniversary of the controversial 17 Point Agreement which the Tibetans were forced to sign under duress with the Chinese government in 1951.

His last visit to Lhasa was in 2011 to mark the 60th anniversary of the agreement when Xi was the Vice-President of the People’s Republic of China. Xi has also visited Tibet as the Party Secretary of Fujian Province in 1998.