Exiled Tibetan PM Lobsang Sangay for dialogue with China

      Tibet's Prime Minister-in-exile Lobsang Sangay said on Friday that he is willing to initiate a dialogue with China, even as he awaits the political viewpoint of the transitional Chinese leadership on Tibet. China considers the Dalai Lama a separatist for his long struggle for Tibetan autonomy, and tensions over the issue are at their highest in years after a spate of protests and self-immolations, which have prompted a Chinese security crackdown.

China has branded the self-immolators "terrorists" and criminals, and has blamed the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Dalai Lama, for inciting them. Interacting with journalists here, Sangay advocated the need for an environment to conduct high-level talks with China, once it gains clarity on the political front. “We are ready to engage in dialogue with the Chinese government anytime, anywhere, this is where we stand. But till the leadership transition, we will not see the clear sign or indication as to how they want to approach Tibet,” said Sangay.

The surge in self-immolations in China in protest over its rule in Tibet has heightened tension in recent months. Sangay said that the issue of Tibet is a litmus test for China and its leadership. “So, this is a test for Chinese government as well. If they really say we believe in moderation then Tibet is the test, it’s not Hong Kong it’s not Macau, it’s not Taiwan. Tibet is the test because if Tibetans are granted autonomy then that is an indication that finally the Chinese leadership or the Han Chinese people have accepted diversity,” said Sangay. China rejects criticism that it is eroding Tibetan culture and faith, saying its rule has ended serfdom and brought development to a backward region.

China has ruled Tibet since 1950, when Communist troops marched in and announced its "peaceful liberation". The Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 following a failed uprising, has accused China of "cultural genocide". Beijing considers him a separatist and does not trust his insistence that he only wants greater autonomy for his Himalayan homeland. Earlier in September 2012, Tibetan exiles from across the world met in India 's northern Dharamsala town to discuss the recent spate of self-immolations and find new ways to gather global support for their cause.

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