World leaders gathering for the annual meeting of the Group of Eight industrial nations on the Japanese island of Hokkaido on Monday must raise Tibet with Chinese President Hu Jintao, given the disappointing results of the seventh round of dialogue with the Dalai Lama’s envoys in Beijing last week and the ongoing crackdown in Tibet.
The Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy, Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, said today that the latest round of talks with China were disappointing and difficult, and had failed to lead to any breakthrough. This round of talks were particularly crucial due to the deteriorating situation in Tibet. Since protests swept across the plateau from March 10, the Chinese government has imposed a wide-ranging crackdown, leading to thousands of disappearances and detentions, and has virtually sealed off the region to outsiders.
ICT’s Vice President of Advocacy, Mary Beth Markey, said: “This round of talks clearly has not met the expectations of the international community, which has repeatedly called upon Beijing for results-based dialogue with the Dalai Lama’s representatives. These leaders are now compelled to press Chinese President Hu to wrest the dialogue from the grip of hardliners who are holding onto a failed policy in Tibet and blocking an achievable solution.”
The Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy Lodi Gyari said that during the meetings in Beijing with United Front Work Department Director Du Qinglin and colleagues he countered China’s accusations that the Dalai Lama planned to sabotage next month’s Olympics and was behind the protests against Chinese rule that swept the Tibetan plateau from March onwards. He called the discussions “one of the most difficult sessions” the two sides have had in the latest round of talks, that have been ongoing since 2002 after a decade of diplomatic stalemate, saying in a statement today: “In the course of our discussions we were compelled to candidly convey to our counterparts that in the absence of serious and sincere commitment on their part the continuation of the present dialogue process would serve no purpose.” (www.tibet.net)
Lodi Gyari, who briefed the Dalai Lama today in India on the talks, said today in Dharamsala, India: “This meeting took place at a crucial time in our relationship. The recent events in Tibet clearly demonstrated the Tibetan people’s genuine and deep-rooted discontentment with the People’s Republic of China’s policies. The urgent need for serious and sincere efforts to address this issue with courage and vision in the interest of stability, unity and harmony of all nationalities of the PRC is obvious. In addition even though His Holiness the Dalai Lama is seeking a solution to the issue of Tibet within the PRC, it is a fact that it has become an issue of great international concern. In this context, we had hoped that the Chinese leadership would reciprocate our efforts by taking tangible steps during this round. On thecontrary, due to their excessive concern about legitimacy the Chinese side even failed to agree to our proposal of issuing a joint statement with the aim of committing both parties to the dialogue process.”
The G8 brings together several of the governments that have been most engaged with both the Tibetan and Chinese sides in urging progress to resolve challenges to peace and stability in Tibet, including the US, Germany, Japan, Australia and France.
French President Sarkozy has pinned his attendance at the Olympics opening ceremony to progress in the dialogue and specifically to addressing the unrest in Tibet that began this spring, with a wave of at least 125 mainly peaceful protests against Chinese rule across the plateau.
Mary Beth Markey of ICT said: “With the failure of the dialogue to move forward, the French President is in a difficult situation, as is the Dalai Lama who, as a supporter of the Beijing Olympics, would not wish to be an obstacle to Sarkozy’s full participation. Of course, China’s leaders have made this calculation and deliberately forsaken an opportunity to build international goodwill directly tied to the Olympics.”