By Lobsang Wangyal
MCLEOD GANJ, India, 19 July 2016
Sikyong (Prime Minister) Lobsang Sangay met the press after a two-day meeting of the Task Force on Sino-Tibetan Negotiations, which was held in Dharamshala on 15 and 16 July.
Although Sangay was unable to have any dialogue with the Chinese leadership in his first five-year term as Sikyong, he emphasised that the Tibetan leadership is still committed to dialogue with China, with the “Middle Way” approach as the only way to achieve a meaningful resolution to the Tibetan issue.
He explained that although discussions were resumed in 2001, until 2010 nine rounds of talks had taken place with no headway at all.
The last visit of the two Tibetan envoys to China was in January of 2010. From January 2010 to June of 2012 the two envoys were not allowed to visit China and meet with their counterparts. Because the situation was deteriorating, “and with the increasing number of self-immolations,” the envoys resigned.
Sangay says that the envoys of the Dalai Lama are ready to meet with their Chinese counterparts any where and any time. “It’s up to the Chinese government to extend their hands so we can clap together. Our hands are always extended.”
Noting a global “decline of internationalism and liberalism, and a rise of nationalism and extremism”, Sangay placed importance on His Holiness messages of universal responsibility, peace, and non-violence, especially in regard to dialogue with China.
Regarding the lack of mention of self-immolations in the press statement for the current task force, Sangay noted “the situation continues to be grim. But we had not highlighted it this time, because we have not had self-immolations [lately].” He affirmed CTAs concern for self-immolators and solidarity with them and their families.
This was the 28th meeting of the Task Force, and the first meeting since the new Kashag. The Task Force meets once a year, and Sangay said that he may occasionally call a smaller meeting, which is not made public.
The purpose of the ask Force is to gather information, and discuss world events as they relate to human rights, the environment, and the Tibetan issue. The meeting works on future plans for negotiation with China.
Chinese leadership have never shown sincerity in resolving the Tibetan issue, despite several rounds of secret talks. They are always looking for some excuses to buy time and want to demoralize us.
So far, the Chinese leaders are uncompromising and using disproportionate force to deal with peaceful and unarmed protests that are seen or staged by individual person unhappy under Chinese rule.
Are genuine talks with China even possible?
Milquetoast signing the 17-Point Agreement in 1951 when we submitted and sacrificed our sovereignty was a cakewalk for the counter part, when Uncle Chin was bending over backward to facilitate and accommodate anything to the point of improvising a new seal in Beijing, in order to satisfy the rudiments of signing a formal agreement that was shoved down our throats.
Nevertheless, our sagacious Kashag and the Assembly never formally ratified the agreement in order to make it binding in accordance with international law.
While openly detesting all forms of extremism, China is now experiencing a decline in internationalism and liberalism to be supplanted by a rise of nationalism and extremism. Needless to say this nascent change of strategy goes contrary to the advice of Deng Xiaoping to keep a low profile in the international arena. Indeed, this is flummoxing if not sounding a bit ultracrepidarian, to say the least.