Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Government said in Beijing Thursday that the Dalai Lama's hope of returning to Tibet were very "very distant" unless he fully abandoned hopes for independence.
Jampa Phuntsok was speaking at a seminar on the sidelines of the annual meeting of China's parliament along with eight other representatives from Tibet. The Dalai Lama had said several times that he is seeking genuine autonomy for Tibet instead of independence for Tibet. "We will never recognize the so-called government-in-exile" of the Dalai Lama and will never have dealing with it" said Jampa. Robbie Barnett, Tibet Specialist in Columbia University, said that Tibetan leaders and Chinese hawks were blocking the return of the Dalai Lama and solution of Tibet issue.
The Dalai Lama has been living in exile since 1959 when he fled following a revolt against China's takeover of Tibet. China has repeatedly refused to allow the spiritual leader to return, accusing him of working to split Tibet from the rest of China.
The Dalai Lama has called for greater autonomy for Tibet, but not independence.