July 08, 2008

Recent news from the China-Tibet Drama

Drama: No other word quite encapsulates recent happenings so well. It's only barely an irreverent choice of words, considering the almost comical amount of nothing changing.

First off, belated, but... Happy Birthday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama! Apparently, that is about as exuberant as the actual celebrations were.

"Tibetans all over the world will be praying today for the long life of the Dalai Lama. But as the situation in Tibet continues to be bad, we have decided to not hold any cultural song and dance event to mark the event," -Thupten Samphel, spokesman of the exiled government. AFP

Onto politics proper.

The talks between envoys of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government that started last week have not gone so well. Cynics may now take this opportunity to gloat for a second, then shed a tear or two in secret.

"There is a growing perception among the Tibetans and my friends that the whole tactic of the Chinese government is to engage us to stall for time. . .  . . .due to their excessive concern about legitimacy the Chinese side even failed to agree to our proposal of issuing a joint statement with the aim of committing both parties to the dialog process." -Lodi Gyari, Tibetan Representative. AFP

The Chinese government has always kept a consistently stubborn stance, and this week is no exception.

"We do not recognise this 'Tibetan exiled government'. . .  . . .The central government will never hold consultations with such an illegal organization. . .  . . .The Dalai Lama should openly and explicitly promise and prove in his actions not to support activities to disturb the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games." -Unnamed Communist Party spokesman. AFP

This wouldn't be a truly international drama without an American contestant. Enter Barack Obama, declaring his boycott of the opening ceremonies.

"In the absence of some sense of progress, in the absence of some sense from the Dalai Lama that there was progress, I would not have gone." -Barack Obama. AP

After much deliberation in a tough race, this judge awards the gold medal in incendiary press statements to: China! (Look for Obama to become a stronger contender as November approaches)

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