TIBET�S EXILE PREMIER WANTS MORE EXCHANGES WITH CHINA


2002-12-06
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 5--The leader of Tibet's exile government vowed Thursday to pursue further exchanges with China, after a landmark visit to Beijing by Tibetan envoys earlier this year, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports. But he said progress �greatly depends� upon China.

�The Kashag [Tibet�s exile cabinet] will continuously make efforts to send delegations and start substantial dialogue,� Samdhong Rimpoche said in an interview here with RFA's Tibetan service after talks with Under Secretary of State and Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Paula Dobriansky. �These efforts will continue until the Tibet issue is resolved--and we will make all the efforts.�

The exile government hasn�t yet made any decisions or formal proposals �as to who should go to China, and when. It greatly depends on the Chinese leadership,� he added. �The Kashag has always wanted to send delegations for dialogue. The delegation that went to China and Tibet in September was assigned to revive lost contacts with the Chinese authorities. Now, substantial dialogue should begin for resolving the Tibetan issue."

Samdhong Rimpoche described his meeting with Dobriansky as �relaxed� and devoted to reviewing recent events. �Our delegation went to China and Tibet, there was a meeting between U.S. President George Bush and Chinese President Jiang Zemin. It was very important to review all those events and make plans for the future,� he said.

�This discussion focused mainly on the Chinese government�s recent positive gesture� for dialogue, and on how the United States should continue its efforts with continuous pressure on China� for a substantial dialogue between Tibet�s representatives and the Chinese leadership,� he said. �We discussed what the United States can do and what we can do.�

Bush administration officials declined to comment on the talks, although they have welcomed apparent progress on the Tibet issue in recent months. In September, a team of special envoys for the Dalai Lama traveled to China for negotiations--the first such visit since 1993.

Under pressure from U.S. legislators, then-President Bill Clinton appointed the first special coordinator for Tibet in 1997 to highlight U.S. concern over China's treatment of the region and its people. Beijing regarded the move as U.S. meddling in its internal affairs and has refused to meet with the coordinator.

China annexed Tibet in 1951. After a failed uprising in 1959, Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled Tibet for India and Nepal along with some 70,000 Tibetans.

In its 2001 report on human rights around the world, the U.S. State Department noted that "according to credible reports, Chinese government authorities continued to commit serious human rights abuses in Tibet, including instances of torture, arbitrary arrest, detention without public trial, and lengthy detention of Tibetan nationalists for peacefully expressing their political or religious views."

RFA broadcasts news and information to Asian listeners who lack regular access to full and balanced reporting in their domestic media. Through its broadcasts and call-in programs, RFA aims to fill a critical gap in the lives of people across Asia. Created by Congress in 1994 and incorporated in 1996, RFA currently broadcasts in Burmese, Cantonese, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Mandarin, the Wu dialect, Vietnamese, Tibetan (Uke, Amdo, and Kham), and Uyghur. It adheres to the highest standards of journalism and aims to exemplify accuracy, balance, and fairness in its editorial content.

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Contact: Sarah Jackson-Han, 202 530 7774

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