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Series of high-profile meetings follow the Five-Fifty Forum

By Lauren Chaplin  /  October 21, 2017;

Task Force Meeting held at Asia Health Resorts
Photo: tibet.net

A spate of high profile meetings followed on from the Five-Fifty Forum, the three-day conference convened to discuss strategies to resolve the issue of Tibet, which took place on October 6-8 in Dharamshala.

First was the 29th Meeting of the Task Force on Sino-Tibet Negotiations, held in Dharamshala over October9-10. Chaired by the Central Tibetan Administration President Lobsang Sangay, the meeting was attended by 18 members of the Task Force, who discussed the recommendations made at the Five-Fifty Forum. Expressing his commitment to the Middle Way Approach (MWA), President Sangay heard suggestions on which future courses of actions would be best to pursue in light of the upcoming 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. Further to this, the Task Force discussed plans for the 2018 “Thank You” year, intended to mark 60 years of Tibetan exile and thank India and other allies who have supported the Tibetans throughout this trying period.

Next, on October 12, a public event was held at Yongling School, organised by six Dharamshala-based Tibetan organisations. Here, Professor Ming Xia, who teaches Political Science at City University of New York (CUNY) addressed the crowd, telling them that he has “complete faith” in the Dalai Lama’s non-violence approach, and that they should stay hopeful about the MWA: “Nothing is permanent. So, the repressive policies in Tibet will change”. During his speech, he noted some liberalisations of China’s policies and of its approaches to ethnic minorities, remarking that the One Child Policy had been abolished, and also that increasing numbers of Chinese were turning to Buddhism. Despite his positive message, Xia has not returned to China for nine years and has been confronted by the Chinese secret service, who have warned him not to support the non-violent MWA.

Between October13-18, the 5th Annual Meeting of Chinese Liaison Officers of the Central Tibetan Administration took place, again in Dharamshala, attended by President Sangay and Professor Ming Xia. President Sangay declared that the success of the MWA depended on how the Chinese public understood the issue. He stressed how important it was for Tibetans to know the Chinese language, to better communicate their aims with Chinese students, teachers, and intellectuals. However, Sangay also warned that “some Chinese officials claim they have Tibetans in exile on their payroll”, stressing that Chinese government staff must be approached with caution.

On October 18, as the Annual Meeting concluded, the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party began in Beijing. With 2,200 members in attendance, the meeting will see the party will select its top leadership for the next five years, although few doubt that Xi Jingping will remain in power for another term as Secretary-General. In his opening speech, Jingping disparaged separatism from the Chinese motherland, an apparent reference to Tibet, and also Xianjing, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

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