More Tibetan autonomy 'not up for discussion': China

  • AFP, Beijing
  • Updated: Apr 15, 2015 12:22 IST

Beijing threw cold water Wednesday on the possibility of re-launching talks with the Dalai Lama, saying in a white paper that the issue of greater autonomy for Tibet was "not up for discussion".

The statement comes months after the exiled spiritual leader and Nobel prize winner expressed optimism that Chinese President Xi Jinping may be open to re-starting dialogue regarding the region.

In its nearly 18,000 word white paper, the State Council Information Office, China's Cabinet, declared that the Dalai Lama must focus on seeking "forgiveness" from the Chinese government.

"Any negotiations will be limited to seeking solutions for the Dalai Lama to completely abandon separatist claims and activities and gain the forgiveness of the central government and the Chinese people, and to working out what he will do with the rest of his life," the white paper said.

"As the political status and system of Tibet is stipulated by the Chinese Constitution and laws, the 'Tibet issue' and 'a high degree of autonomy' are not up for discussion," it added.

The ruling Communist Party held nine rounds of dialogue with the Dalai Lama's envoys from 2002 to 2010 but the process produced no visible results.

The Dalai Lama has previously expressed optimism about the current administration in Beijing, in what some have seen as a possible easing of tensions with China, which has accused him of seeking secession for Tibet.

The 79-year-old Buddhist leader denies aspirations for independence and says he only wants the area to have more autonomy.

In a December interview with France 24 television, he described Xi as a "realist" who was being held back by elements within the Communist Party.

But the white paper is a signal that Beijing - which has called the Dalai Lama "a wolf in monk's robes" - will continue to take a hard-line approach to the issue.

It stated that Beijing will only hold talks with "private representatives" of the Dalai Lama, rather than members of the Tibetan government-in-exile, which it described as "essentially a separatist political group".

The white paper also called on the monk to "put aside his illusions in his remaining years" and "do something of benefit to overseas Tibetan compatriots in exile". "The wheels of history roll forward and the tides of the times are irresistible," it stated. "Tibet's path of development is one imposed by history and chosen by the people."

The 14th Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule and has lived in exile in India ever since.

He has suggested in recent months that he may not be reincarnated after he dies - a statement that infuriated Beijing, which maintains that the central government has the sole authority to decide reincarnation.

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