An envoy for the Dalai Lama says Tibet is ready to
resume peace talks with China. Kelsang Gyaltsen's speech to foreign
correspondents in Tokyo comes more than seven months after negotiations stalled
between the two sides. Tibetan leaders are taking their message around Asia,
while they wait for word from Beijing.
Kelsang Gyaltsen stands on the
front lines of Tibet's fight for autonomy. He has met with Chinese leaders eight
times to convey the message of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai
Speaking to reporters Wednesday in Tokyo, Gyaltsen said Tibet is
asking for autonomy, not separation from China.
"So that the Tibetan
people are able to preserve their own culture, religion, language and identity
in their homeland," Gyaltsen said.
The process hit a major hurdle last
year after demonstrations to mark the 49th anniversary of Tibet's failed
uprising against Chinese rule were marked with violence. Chinese authorities
quickly put down the protests.
But the two sides resumed talks last
October. Gyaltsen says Tibetan leaders laid out a detailed road map for
self-government. He says that outline conformed to principles of autonomy
written in the Chinese constitution.
"The right to original, national,
autonomy is guaranteed in the constitution to the People's Republic of China,"
Gyaltsen said. "It's to minorities such as the Tibetan people."
the Chinese government rejected the proposal without offering an alternative
The talks are on hold indefinitely now, but Gyaltsen says
exiled Tibetan leaders are organizing meetings between Chinese and Tibetan
groups, engaging the two sides on a more human level. They also are publishing
fliers and books in Mandarin, so Chinese people have a better understanding of
the Tibetan culture.