By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 24 April 2019
Pointing a finger at China for the lack of any Sino-Tibet dialogue in almost a decade, the President of the Central Tibetan Administration Lobsang Sangay said the ball is in China’s court.
“We are ready for talks anytime anywhere. We are waiting for their call for dialogue to resolve the Tibetan issue through the Middle-Way Approach,” Sangay said during a press conference today announcing the second Five-Fifty Youth Forum in August.
The Middle-Way Approach is not seeking independence for Tibet, but autonomy for all three traditional provinces of Tibet, an area of 2.5 million sq km, within the Chinese constitution.
Sangay said that he left no stone unturned in his endeavours to contact the Chinese authorities for resolving the Tibetan issue. “It is China that is not coming forward for talks.”
He explained that he had retained the same members of the Task Force on Sino-Tibet Negotiations from the time of the previous political leader Samdhong Rinpoche, adding a few new members. Special Envoy Lodi Gyari (until he passed away) and Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen have been attending the annual Task Force meetings, even after they resigned from their envoy positions in 2012.
Nine rounds of talks had been held since 2002 between these two envoys of the Dalai Lama and representatives of the United Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, with the last round of talks being held in January 2010. The talks failed to come to any resolution, due to major differences between the two sides.
Sangay stressed that relations between the two sides broke down after the last talks in 2010, before he took charge in March 2011.
He said that this can be seen from the resignation of the two envoys in June 2012. After their resignation, a press release issued by the Task Force stated that the envoys had given briefings to the CTA President Sangay 12 times between May 2011 to June 2012.
“During the briefings, the envoys expressed their willingness to reestablish relations, and sought my views. I expressed my support for further dialogue,” Sangay said.
“The envoys were unable to arrange further talks, and they submitted their resignation in June 2012 saying the situation in Tibet is dire, and they are not able to reconnect with the Chinese leaders.”
Sangay in an interview with News 18 last year had said that there has been no official communication with Chinese leaders since January 2010, but communication has been going on through informal channels, such as meetings with Buddhists, businessmen, scholars, and journalists who come to seek the views of CTA.
A new twist in the Sino-Tibet situation came about in late 2017, when an online newspaper reported that former exile Tibetan Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche had made a clandestine visit to China in November 2017, and met with some Chinese officials close to Xi Jinping.
However Rinpoche, considered to be an emissary of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, denied visiting China.
Sangay later commented during an event in New Delhi in December of the same year, “It was at most, a private visit”, and that he did not get any official confirmation on the issue from Rinpoche. He even asked that not much be read into it, saying that it may not be important, considering nine rounds of Sino-Tibet dialogues had not borne any result.
Tibet Sun has learned that the members of the Task Force are holding their next meeting in May in Dharamshala. The 30th meeting of the Task Force was held in Dharamshala in May 2018.