Washington, DC — China's insistence on "unreasonable and unattainable conditions in order for China to resume dialogue," a new US report on "Tibet Negotiations" said, adding that the United States supports "dialogue without preconditions"— considering "this position counter-productive and contrary to the expectations of the United States and the international community."
The "Tibet Negotiations" report, which is mandated by the "Tibet Policy Act of 2002", was transmitted from Secretary of State John Kerry to the Congress. It maintained that the role of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his representatives is pivotal in dealing with the continuing tensions in Tibet and advised that failure to address these problems will be an impediment to China's social and economic development, as well as continue to be a stumbling block to fuller political and economic engagement with US.
"The Dalai Lama's representatives and Chinese officials from the United Front Work Department have not met directly since the ninth round of dialogue in January 2010," the report stated, adding: "The United States continues to encourage both sides to engage in a substantive discussion that will work to achieve concrete results," says the 14th annual report to Congress on the status of Tibet negotiations, by US Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs Julia Frifield, on behalf of the Secretary.
"The U.S. government believes that the Dalai Lama or his representatives can be constructive partners for China as it deals with continuing tensions in Tibetan areas. The Dalai Lama's views continue to be widely reflected within Tibetan society and he represents the views of the vast majority of Tibetans. His consistent advocacy of non-violence is a key in reaching a lasting solution for Tibetans," the report's executive summary stated.
"Chinese government engagement with the Dalai Lama or his representatives to resolve problems facing Tibetans is in the interest of the Chinese government and the Tibetan people. Failure to address these problems will lead to greater tensions inside China and will be an impediment to China's social and economic development, as well as continue to be a stumbling block to fuller political and economic engagement with the United States," it said.
"Promoting substantive dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai Lama or his representatives is a long-standing important U.S. foreign policy objective. We continue to encourage representatives of both the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama to hold direct and substantive discussions, without preconditions, toward a solution that allows Tibetans to enjoy genuine autonomy, including in the practice of religion, culture, and language, and thus promotes stability," the report noted.
The report further states that "Such a dialogue provides the best hope for alleviating tensions in Tibetan areas and would contribute to the overall stability of China. We are very concerned that there has been no dialogue since early 2010, and that talks prior to that time did not bear concrete results. The United States believes that a resumption of dialogue and steps to redress Tibetan grievances are critical to reducing the continuing high tensions between Tibetans and Chinese authorities," says the report.
"We are concerned Chinese officials continue to insist on unreasonable and unattainable conditions in order for China to resume dialogue. We consider this position counter-productive and contrary to the expectations of the United States and the international community," says the report, adding that "We support dialogue without preconditions."
The report also claimed that "The United States recognizes the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and Tibetan autonomous prefectures and counties in other provinces as part of the People's Republic of China. Accordingly, the U.S. government does not conduct official diplomatic relations with the Central Tibetan Administration, an organization based in Dharamsala, India. The Department of State maintains contact with a wide range of religious, cultural, political, and other Tibet-related groups and individuals, including Tibetans in the United States, China, India, and around the world."
"U.S. officials have met with the Dalai Lama in his capacity as an internationally revered religious and cultural leader, and as a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. The Dalai Lama repeatedly has disclaimed any intention to seek sovereignty or independence for Tibet, and has instead said that he seeks for China to preserve Tibetan culture, religion, and its fragile environment through genuine autonomy," the report further added.
"We continue to urge China to address policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions; respect and preserve the distinct religious, linguistic, and cultural identity of the Tibetan people; permit Tibetans to express their grievances freely, publicly, peacefully, and without fear of retribution; allow journalists, diplomats, and other observers unrestricted access to Tibetan areas; and fully respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Chinese citizens, including the freedom of movement domestically and internationally. 'We welcome the reduction in the number of tragic acts of protest by self-immolation during the reporting period and hope the trend will continue," it said.
Regarding decisions on the succession or reincarnation of the next Dalai Lama, the report said: "we believe that the basic and universally recognized right of religious freedom demands that any such decision must be reserved to the current Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhist leaders, and the Tibetan people."
'We are concerned that the death of the Dalai Lama in exile without a resolution of differences likely would increase instability in China, and we encourage China to adopt policies that would reduce the risk of unrest and resume dialogue with the current Dalai Lama while he remains health," it further added.
The report also details the steps taken by the President Obama administration to encourage "substantive dialogue between the Dalai Lama's representatives and the Chinese government to resolve long-standing issues, and stresses that a dialogue that produces results would be positive for China and Tibetans." The following are some steps taken by the United States Government:
- President Obama continues to call for substantive dialogue between the Dalai Lama's representatives and the Chinese government to resolve long-standing issues, and stresses that a dialogue that produces results would be positive for China and Tibetans;
- The President expressed support for the "preservation of Tibet's unique religious, cultural, and linguistic traditions and the equal protection of human rights of Tibetans in China" and the "Middle Way" approach, commended the Dalai Lama's commitment to nonviolence and dialogue, and called for "meaningful and direct dialogue between the Dalai Lama and his representatives with Chinese authorities."
- In a joint press conference with President Xi Jinping in Beijing on September 25, 2015,the President said, "we continue to encourage Chinese authorities to preserve the religious and cultural identity of the Tibetan people, and to engage with the Dalai Lana or his representatives;"
- Secretary Kerry consistently raised Tibet in meetings with his Chinese counterparts, including during visits to China and in meetings with Chinese counterparts in the United States and elsewhere during the reporting period, and in public speeches. He consistently called for the protection of human rights in Tibetan areas and for a resumption of dialogue. On April 26,2016, at a speech at Rice University, the Secretary noted that, "[i]n China, Tibetan Buddhists continue to suffer from official harassment and interference in the practice of their religion."
- Under Secretary Sewall meeting with the Dalai Lama twice during the reporting period, on January 16, 2016, in Dharamsala, India and on June 13, 2016, in Washington, to discuss nonviolent approaches to conflict resolution, climate change, and questions of preserving Tibetan culture, religion, and education;
- The US delegation at the 19th U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue on August 13, 2015 urging China to renew dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives and provide greater access to Tibetan areas by diplomats and journalists.
- Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights Democracy and Labor Tom Malinowski urging China during an October 14 meeting in Beijing with the State Administration for Religious Affairs in Beijing for an end to state interference in the religious process of identifying reincarnate Tibetan lamas;
- At the April 2016 U.S.-China Consular Dialogue, the United States proposed the establishment of a mechanism for consular officers and staff to be able to travel to the TAR on short notice to assist distressed U.S. citizens with minimal delay.
The report also says details on human rights and religious freedom conditions in, and the level of journalist and diplomatic access to, Tibet can be found in the Department's annual Human Rights and International Religious Freedom Reports.