'Face up to reality', China urges Dalai Lama

Govt white paper comes amid concerns in Beijing that it is losing international propaganda war on Tibet
'Face up to reality', China urges Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama speaks during a press conference in Copenhagen on February 11 (AFP Photo/Scanpix Denmark/Claus Bech)

ucanews.com reporter, Beijing
April 15, 2015
China on Wednesday told the Dalai Lama to forget about greater autonomy for Tibet, in a government paper that dismissed any possibility for renewed dialogue.

Insisting its policy of development for the Himalayan region was on track, Beijing rejected the Dalai Lama’s ‘Middle Way’, a blueprint for greater autonomy based on teachings of the Buddha.

“The only sensible alternatives are for the Dalai Lama and his supporters to accept that Tibet has been part of China since Antiquity, to abandon their goals of dividing China and seeking independence for Tibet,” it said.

Tibet’s exiled administration in India has not held formal talks with the Communist government for five years amid a leadership change in Beijing, although there had been speculation that dialogue would resume following a softer line by China at the end of last year.

But Beijing dismissed the possibility of negotiations on Wednesday, less than three months before Tibet’s spiritual leader turns 80 years old.

“The central government hopes that the Dalai Lama will put aside his illusions in his remaining years and face up to reality,” the white paper said.

The Tibetan government in exile was not immediately available for comment and did not respond to questions on dialogue with Beijing emailed to the prime minister’s office yesterday.

China’s announcement on Wednesday appeared timed to coincide with the Dalai Lama’s return to India after a two-week trip to Japan amid ongoing concerns in Beijing that it is losing the international propaganda war on Tibet.

“With regard to the problems facing Tibet, we are trying to do our best to solve them, but we need international support. Things have to change. Transparency has to come, it can’t be avoided,” the Dalai Lama told a group of Tibetan and Taiwanese Buddhists on Tuesday before flying out of Tokyo.

Shingtsa Tenzinchodrak, a deputy of the legislature in Beijing dubbed a “living Buddha” by state media, is currently leading a delegation in Brazil following a visit to the United States aimed at dispelling “the fallacies of the Dalai Lama clique”.

In a series of articles lauding the tour, state media on Saturday compared China’s policies of socialism and economic development in Tibet to Abraham Lincoln’s freeing of slaves in the US South after the American Civil War.

In meetings with three US congressmen in California last week, Shingtsa said overseas media coverage of repression in Tibet was inaccurate, a spokesman for Congressman Mike Honda told ucanews.com yesterday.

“Congressman Honda replied that he has visited the Dalai Lama on several occasions, and is committed to seeing the people of Tibet … have the freedom to practice their religion without government interference or oppression,” the spokesman added.

Last month, China’s government launched a series of vocal attacks on Tibet’s spiritual leader, accusing him of “blasphemy” after the Dalai Lama suggested that he would not anoint a successor, thereby ending centuries of tradition.

Beijing has attempted to take control of the reincarnation process in a bid to keep the next Dalai Lama inside the country and under the management of authorities in a move that would effectively end Tibetan hopes of greater autonomy in the near future.

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In a bid to contain separatism, the Communist Party leader in Tibet last week ordered every Buddhist temple to fly the national flag, noting that many already display pictures of the country’s Communist leaders.

Other new measures announced via state media included a program teaching China’s laws to Buddhist monks and supplying remote monasteries with radios, televisions and newspapers, all shackled by government censors.

While Beijing insists such policies are necessary to end a 60-year cycle of uprisings, Tibetans have accused the Chinese of being overly intrusive into daily religious life and often brutal in attempting to stamp out dissent.

Last month, police reportedly arrested at least 12 monks in three separate raids on Tsanden Monastery in Sog County, and last week a Buddhist nun burned herself to death in protest against Chinese rule. At least 138 Tibetans have reportedly self-immolated since 2009.

Tibet advocacy groups recently filed a report to the UN claiming that torture and police brutality remain common despite the government’s recent insistence it had moved to stamp out the practice across China.

Following findings in 2008 that torture was “widespread” and “routine” in Tibet, the UN is again due to assess China’s compliance with the Convention against Torture in November.

“Anecdotally, gross forms of torture appear to have become less common in recent years but we continue to receive information confirming that detainees are still frequently beaten, including with electric batons,” Alistair Currie, campaigns manager at UK-based Free Tibet, told ucanews.com on Tuesday.

“Restrictions and monitoring have certainly tightened across Tibet [and China] in the last year or two … it may be a sign of a more pro-active approach of pre-emptive action and, of course, intimidation.”


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