By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
China, after talks, strikes hard line on Tibet
Placeholder Image
    BEIJING — A senior Chinese official who met this week with representatives of the Dalai Lama on Thursday ruled out giving Tibet the kind of autonomy that Beijing grants Hong Kong, saying the Tibetan spiritual leader should ‘‘face reality.’’
    The remarks by Du Qinglin, head of a government department in charge of the talks, were the first public comment by China since the two days of discussions ended Wednesday. They add to the pessimism over the negotiations after the Dalai Lama said earlier this week he was unsure if they would produce any breakthroughs.
    ‘‘It is impossible for Tibet to become independent, semi-independent, or independent in a disguised form,’’ Du said in remarks carried by the official Xinhua News Agency. ‘‘The Dalai Lama should respect history, face reality, comply with the times and correct his political stance fundamentally.’’
    The Dalai Lama has maintained for decades that he is trying to seek meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people under China’s rule, not independence.
    Du ruled out a Hong Kong-like solution, saying China would not allow Tibet the wide degree of autonomy it has granted its other territories, Hong Kong and Macau, under a ‘‘one country, two systems’’ formula.
    ‘‘We will never allow someone to hold a banner of ’real nationality autonomy’ and damage the national unity,’’ he said.
    Du held the talks in Beijing with Lodi Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, two envoys of the self-proclaimed Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharmsala, India.
    In a statement, Lodi Gyari said the envoys would not comment on the talks until after a special meeting of Tibetan exile communities and political organizations to be held Nov. 17-22 in Dharmsala.
    The lack of progress in previous efforts to negotiate with Beijing had spurred the Dalai Lama to call the meeting, which could mark a significant shift in the Tibetan strategy for engaging Beijing.
    In a visit to Japan on Monday, the Dalai Lama said he had little faith that this week’s negotiations with the Chinese government would lead to greater autonomy for the region.
    Many Tibetans say they were an independent nation before Communist troops invaded in 1950, while Beijing says the Himalayan region has been part of its territory for centuries.
    Earlier this week, state media reported that Chinese authorities had sentenced 55 people in connection with deadly riots in March protesting Beijing’s rule over Tibet, but did not give details.
    Beijing says the protests were part of a violent campaign by the Dalai Lama and his supporters to overthrow Chinese rule in Tibet and sabotage the Beijing Olympics in August. China responded with a massive crackdown in Tibet and the surrounding region in which exile groups say at least 140 people were killed and more than 1,000 were detained.
    The Dalai Lama has denied involvement in violence.