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11september20101Dharamshala: Two articles by different authors, published in the South China Morning Post today (September 11), demonstrate the current impasse in Sino-Tibetan relations and the lack of trust felt around further negotiations.

The articles by Hong Kong-based political scientist Barry Sautman and Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, The Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy and head of the Tibetan negotiations team with China, do not bode well for the recommencement of talks.

Mr Sautman's piece, reflecting many statements issued by Beijing, discredits the Dalai Lama’s honesty in pushing for the 'Middle Path', claiming His Holiness' actions do not match his professed aims. He argues that, while Chinese propaganda is often criticized, the same questioning of Tibetan propaganda doesn’t exist, and that the world tends to take Tibetan claims at face value.

He adds that, while exile Tibetan leaders demonstrate a separatist approach, they cannot expect China to negotiate, and notes the preconditions that Beijing has laid out.

Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, writing from a very different perspective, argues that the Tibet government-in-exile has always stated its intentions clearly, and that China appears to be hoping for resolution either in the passing away of the current Dalai Lama, or in Tibetan assimilation as China’s economy and position in the world rises - presumably having a positive effect for the Tibetan people.

Gyari also writes that viewing the artificial stability in Tibet as acquiescence and waiting for the issue to lose momentum will likely create further discontentment and desperation.

Gyari notes that, in addition to presenting the Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People in November 2008 (in January this year), Tibetan representatives stated in clear and definitive terms that "we seek only genuine autonomy within the framework of the People's Republic of China, its constitution and its laws".

With such a wide gap of perspectives, and each side putting responsibility elsewhere, the articles suggest effective negotiations are a distant prospect.

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com