In its April 16 broadcast RFA interviewed “Tsering,” a Tibetan woman in Lhasa, who said that there is hectic construction and repair work in and around Lhasa, including the laying of underground cables, which would indicate preparation for high-profile visitors.
According to Tsering, Tibetans are saying that all of this work has to be completed within 60 days and are talking about a visit by Yeshin Norbu (a reference to the Dalai Lama). However, she noted that a visit by the Dalai Lama might prove to be difficult and conjectured that the anticipation could be surrounding a visit by his envoys.
Tsering also noted, however, that Chinese newspapers have been carrying reports about Beijing’s invitation to the Dalai Lama to visit China and Tibet.
“The people are talking about another visit, but there is no official word,” said Tsering.
Tsering said the Lhasa public was not aware of the September 2002 visit to Lhasa by the Tibetan delegation led by Mr. Lodi Gyari. “They (the Chinese authorities) kept it secret,” she said.
In a March 29, 2003, broadcast, RFA talked to a Tibetan from Amdo who also confirmed that there were talks of another visit by envoys of the Dalai Lama. He said this was a hopeful sign.
The April 16 broadcast referred to the Dalai Lama’s meeting with the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in New Delhi on April 7, 2003, during which he had expressed the hope that his envoys would be able to visit China in the near future.
The Dalai Lama also informed the journalists about his main concern with the Tibetan issue, saying, “Basically, I am not seeking separation, I am not seeking independence. Because the world is changed, the importance is maximum benefit to the Tibetan people.”
He added that what is essential is the protection of the Tibetan people’s religion, culture and environment.
There has been no announcement, either from Dharamsala or Beijing, about the timing of the next visit by the envoys, although it is expected to take place.