The two representatives of exiled Tibetan religious leader the Dalai Lama in on-going talks with the Chinese government have announced their resignation as of June 1, leaving uncertain the future of the talks that have remained in a stalemate for more than two years.
A statement from Dharamsala on Sunday said Lodi G. Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen “expressed their utter frustration over the lack of positive response from the Chinese side.”
The envoys said they felt that the Communist Party of China's (CPC) United Front Work Department, which represents Beijing in the talks, “did not respond positively” to a memorandum submitted in 2008 and a note presented in December 2010 to clarify certain points of difference.
The envoys have held, since 2002, nine rounds of talks with the CPC, most recently in January 2010. Zhu Weiqun, a Vice-Minister of the United Front Work Department, said after the last round that the two sides' positions remained “sharply divided,” particularly over questions of the limits of “genuine autonomy” and migration policies for Tibetan areas.
In their resignation letter, the envoys pointed to seemingly hardening positions of CPC officials, including Mr. Zhu, as another reason for their decision. “One of the key Chinese interlocutors in the dialogue process even advocated abrogation of minority status as stipulated in the Chinese constitution thereby seeming to remove the basis of autonomy,” the letter said in reference to a recent article by Mr. Zhu. “At this particular time, it is difficult to have substantive dialogue,” the letter concluded.
‘Middle Way' approach
The statement from Dharamsala said there would be no change from the “Middle Way” approach seeking genuine autonomy — and not outright independence — and adhering to the framework of the Chinese constitution.
Tempa Tsering, a representative of the Dalai Lama, told The Hindu in an interview, “We have made very clear that we still stand by the memorandum and we will be very happy to meet the Chinese at any time, and anywhere.”
“We have made it very clear that we do not demand independence, or separation from China, and we would accept the Chinese constitution and within the framework seek genuine autonomy for the entire area Tibetans are living,” he said. “There is, however, a saying that you cannot clap with one hand,” he added.
The last communication between the two sides was a December 2010 note sent by Dharamsala to Beijing, which sought to clarify points of difference over the memorandum of genuine autonomy submitted in 2008. Chinese officials have said the memorandum amounted to “disguised independence,” particularly pointing to the
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