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7september2011gyariMelbourne: - His Holiness the Dalai Lama's 'top man' and chief negotiator with the Chinese government for the past 26 years, Lodoe Gyari Rinpoche, has been interviewed today by the Australian SBS network's Mandarin News Australia, shedding light on the current situation for Tibetans in China and the relationship between China, Tibet and Australia, and how a future course can be navigated.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Special Envoy to Australia and New Zealand said the implications of Tibet's newly instated Prime-Minister in Exile for the leaders of China and Australia are great, as this new situation provides an extraordinary opportunity for the Chinese leaders as well as the international community to engage with the Dalai Lama on a different level.

He added that in the past Australia has 'always been kind' and never hesitated to speak openly about Tibet, however pointed out that the government's willingness to put pressure on China in regards to human rights issues was not always consistent and that it seemed leaders were simply 'checking little boxes' on a list of moral obligations, which meant that China did not take them seriously.

When questioned about the legitimacy of Beijing's claim to have 'liberated' Tibet from backwardness and increased its productivity, Gyari fired back that although huge amounts of money have undoubtedly been allocated to Tibet, hardly any of it benefited the Tibetan people and only served to marginalise them and undermine Tibetan culture and language in many cases. He explained that Tibetans should not "go back to the past, because the past is very painful", adding however that as neighbours, China and Tibet needed to co-exist in harmony and if the Chinese did not take present unrest as a warning then the 'bitterness' of the Tibetan people toward their policies would only get worse.

Gyari Rinpoche also addressed last Thursday the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade and met members of the Parliamentary Group for Tibet, during which MP Melissa Park made a statement urging the Australian government to encourage further dialogue between the Chinese government and Tibetan representatives.

While in Sydney Gyari also gave several interviews to ABC radio and TV, met with Chinese democracy advocates and gave a public talk on his years of engagement with the Chinese government to an eager audience. His message to the Australian Parliament and public, which includes a fairly large proportion of ethnic Chinese, was clear and well received as one of hopeful yet firm optimism for the future of Sino-Tibetan relations.

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