TIBETAN EXILE GOVERNMENT REJECTS CHINESE BLASTS ON DALAI LAMAS TRIPS


2003.11.04
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The Tibetan exile government has rejected Chinese criticism of a visit by the Dalai Lama in September to the United States but still hopes for a third visit to China by an exile government delegation, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports.

"Regardless of which world leaders he has met, the Dalai Lama has never mentioned a single word against the Chinese," exile Prime Minister Samdhong Rimpoche told members of the exile government last week in Dharamsala, India, where the exile government is based.

Listen to Samdhong Rimpoche

"All his conversations are well documented. Even when he met with U.S. leaders, he expressed his concern about the dire urgency of the situation inside Tibet and the immediate need for dialogue with the Chinese--and the [need for] support from other nations to help this dialogue materialize," he said.

China sharply criticized the Dalai Lama's visit to the United States in September.

"From our side, we have already expressed to the Chinese government our intention to send our envoys for the third time," Samdhong Rimpoche said. "The environment for our dialogue with the Chinese was intact until July or August this year. But the Chinese government became extremely critical when the Dalai Lama met with U.S. leaders in September. [For this reason] it looks like the environment for dialogue has been slightly degraded."

"As a result [of China�s complaints], there were some baseless stories debated in the Tibetan community. Nevertheless, I think that such misinformation and doubts can be clarified during the visit of a third delegation," he said.

In August, Chinese authorities unexpectedly rejected a request for a private 10-member delegation of Tibetan dignitaries for a visit to China. Sources inside China told RFA that the Chinese government had rejected the visit on grounds some members of the delegation were involved in "splittist" or separatist activities.

An exile government official, Sonam Norbu Dakpo, suggested that the Chinese government may have rejected the proposed visit because of numerous high-profile events during October. "As you all know, October was a busy month for China between its National Day, the annual conference of the Communist Party�s leaders, and the space mission. The Chinese were busy."

Listen to RFA Tibetan's report on Sonam Norbu Dakpo's speech

The Dalai Lama's special envoy Lodi Gyari led visits to China earlier this year and in 2002--the first such visit since 1993.

Both the United States and the Dalai Lama say they don't want independence but greater autonomy for Tibet, which has been under Chinese control since 1950.

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