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Chinese Delegation to Washington Casts Doubt on Talks with Dalai Lama

A Chinese official on a visit to Washington has cast doubt on further dialogue between Beijing and representatives of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Shingtsa Tenzin Chodrak told reporters in Washington Tuesday that the Dalai Lama's proposals for Tibetan autonomy are "sheer lies."

"During these rounds of dialogue, the Dalai Lama has raised requirements with the central government. We believe these requirements and demands are not in line with reality."
Shingtsa said the Dalai Lama has "misled the world." He dismissed the Dalai Lama's "middle way," a proposal that seeks political autonomy for Tibet rather than independence from China.

He heads a delegation of Tibetan members of China's National People's Congress (China's largely ceremonial parliament) who arrived in Washington a week after U.S. lawmakers urged Beijing to end repression in Tibet.

Chinese officials say the delegation's goal is to tell the United States about the profound changes in Tibet based on Tibetans' own experiences over the past 50 years.

But the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet challenged the delegation's credibility, given China's efforts to close Tibet to foreign visitors.

In an interview with VOA (Mandarin service), director Buchung Tsering wondered why China has shut Tibet off from the outside world if Tibetans are truly satisfied with Chinese rule.

Last year, China rejected a memorandum outlining what the Dalai Lama's envoys said was a proposal for meaningful Tibetan autonomy within the borders of China.

The Dalai Lama has stated publicly for decades that he wants autonomy for the region. But Beijing claims he is covertly pursuing independence.

Last week, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said China is willing to hold talks with the Tibetan spiritual leader if he renounces separatism. The Chinese leader did not refer to the memorandum, nor did he clarify how the Dalai Lama might demonstrate good faith.

The Indian-based Tibetan government-in-exile responded by saying the Dalai Lama is always willing to engage with Chinese leaders. It reiterated that he does not seek independence.