Wednesday, June 20, 2007

China rejects Dalai Lama`s plea for `Greater Tibet`

BEIJING: The Dalai Lama must renounce hopes for more autonomy over a "greater Tibet" and do more "good" for China if he ever wants to return to his homeland, a top Tibetan official said Wednesday.
Tibetan Autonomous Region chairman Qiangba Puncog made the comments while offering insights into the drawn-out negotiations between Beijing and the Dalai Lama over the 71-year-old spiritual leader's hopes to one day end his 48-year exile.
Beijing has said the Dalai Lama must fully renounce Tibetan independence if he is to return, and repeatedly rejected the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner's statements saying he has done so as "lacking sincerity."

Puncog said the Dalai Lama's calls for a "high degree of autonomy" for a greater Tibet area -- including parts of Qinghai and Sichuan provinces in northwest China where many Tibetans live -- were at the root of the dispute.
"To take the relations between some ethnic nationalities and religions and mix them together to make a political reality and turn it into political jurisdiction, I think that there are some ulterior motives here," Puncog said.
"This kind of change is actually kind of like independence ... people around the Dalai Lama have said that if this can become successful then (they) won't be too far from real independence."
The call for a "high degree of autonomy" was unconstitutional, Puncog told journalists in Beijing.
China took control of Tibet after sending in troops to "liberate" the region in 1950, and set up the Tibetan Autonomous Region in 1965.
Although Tibetans for centuries regarded other areas in Qinghai and Sichuan as part of their homeland, the Chinese government excluded these areas when setting up the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after an aborted uprising and has since run his government-in-exile in the Indian hilltop town of Dharamsala.
"The key problem is still to thoroughly renounce the position of Tibet independence ... and in his remaining years do more that is good for the Tibetan people and the nation," Puncog said.
"This is what everyone is waiting for."