Monday, 30 December 2013

China Must Implement Its Laws: Dr. Lobsang Sangay

Lobsang Sangay, the Tibetan prime minister in exile, gives off the impression that there is more that unites his people and the Chinese authorities who have ruled them for over half a century, than divides them.

China might call him a separatist, and members of his own community might set themselves on fire protesting Chinese rule of their homeland, but the Harvard Law School graduate says that the demands of Tibet’s leaders are in line with the rights of minorities as set out within China’s own constitution.

“We are asking China to implement its own laws, and that could amount to autonomy for us,” Mr. Sangay, who in 2011 was elected head of the exiled Tibetan government in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, told The Wall Street Journal.

China’s constitution provides for “regional autonomy” in areas where “people of minority nationalities live in compact communities.”

Tibetans living on the Tibetan plateau fulfil that requirement, argues Mr. Sangay, ergo China must change its constitution, or accept the demand for full autonomy. The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, describes this as a “Middle Way” approach.

The deadlock and distrust between Tibet and China has existed for over half a century, since China incorporated Tibet into its territory in 1950, claiming that the land was always an inalienable part of China.

Things worsened in 1959 when 80,000 Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama fled into exile in India following a failed uprising.

China created the Tibet Autonomous Region, located on the Tibetan plateau, between China and India in 1965, as part of an agreement between Tibetan representatives and Beijing.

“But it’s not autonomous, honestly… only in name and on paper,” Mr. Sangay said sipping tea at the New Delhi representative office of the Dalai Lama.

In support of his contention, Mr. Sangay presents the evidence.

Schools and universities in the region teach in Chinese, Mr. Sangay says, contrary to the Chinese constitution, which gives minorities nationalities the right to use their own languages.

Leading political figures in the Tibet Autonomous Region politburo are Han Chinese, the dominant or majority ethnic group of China or have a Chinese spouse, Mr. Sangay claimed. Although the region’s governor is Tibetan, the office is subordinate to the branch secretary of the Communist Party of China, who is always Chinese, the exiled prime minister added.

According to him, the majority of private businesses in the Tibetan Autonomous Region are owned or run by Chinese people, and unemployment among Tibetan school and college graduates there is running at 40%. Wages on offer in some businesses in Lhasa, the capital are openly greater for Han Chinese employees than non-Chinese workers, Mr. Sangay added.

The size of the territory that makes up the Tibet Autonomous Region is also a point of dispute. Some parts of the Tibetan plateau have, since the 1950s, been incorporated into neighbouring Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan.

Mr. Sangay’s solution to this would, he says, benefit the Chinese authorities as well as the Tibetans living there.

“From the administrative point of view, it’s far more efficient and effective to have one policy and one implementing mechanism for all the Tibetan people because they are of the same culture, language, economy and custom,” he said.

Beijing says clubbing of Tibetan areas into one unit is unreasonable because that would amount to a quarter of China.

Sichuan province has 80 million Chinese and about two million Tibetans living there, Mr. Sangay said. “Now if you’re governor of Sichuan, you will dedicate about 3 to 4% of your time and energy to Tibetans,” said Mr. Sangay.

“Tibetans are saying ‘We are being ignored, we are being discriminated against.’”

Mass migration of Han Chinese to Tibetan areas is another sticking point between Beijing and Tibetans.

China claims Han Chinese people can help develop the Tibet Autonomous Region, which has the lowest population density among province-level administrative regions. But Tibetans see the migration as an attempt to make the region more Chinese.

“We have no intention of expelling Chinese from Tibet,” Mr. Sangay said. “But there is need for some kind of regulation for migration to Tibet.”

A key purpose for the Tibetan Autonomous Region is to allow Tibetans to have the majority, he adds.

Is a resolution in sight? Progress appears slow and has stalled in recent years.

Between 2002 and 2010, representatives of the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama held talks on 10 occasions, but made no headway.

Talks stalled after the Dalai Lama relinquished political powers over the exiled government in 2011. Beijing says it will not speak with Mr. Sangay’s government in exile. Mr. Sangay though says he’s keen to renew the conversation.

“All along, the discussion has been between the envoys of the Dalai Lama and representatives of the Chinese government, and we would like to continue with that practice,” says Mr. Sangay.

He is currently drawing inspiration to persevere from Nelson Mandela’s decades-long struggle for freedom for black people in South Africa.

“There were many commentaries which categorically concluded saying that ‘Nelson Mandela will not be able to restore democracy in South Africa and restore equality for different ethnicities’, far less get himself released from the prison,” Mr. Sangay said. “He walked tall… from the prison, with democracy and equality restored.”

Mao Zedong was no god, says Xi Jinping

President Xi Jinping attempted a balancing act on the 120th anniversary of Mao Zedong's birth yesterday, praising the late Communist Party leader's teachings while acknowledging he was "not a god".

In a speech at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to commemorate Mao's birth, Xi told party leaders that historical failures could not be blamed on individuals, nor could one person be credited with an era's success.

"Revolutionary leaders are men but not gods," Xi said. "We should not worship them like gods … but we should not negate them completely because they made mistakes.

"[We should] move forward, but can't forget the path that we have travelled."

Xi spoke after leading the other six members of the supreme Politburo Standing Committee to Mao's mausoleum, where they bowed three times before the late party patriarch's marble statue.

The anniversary speech was closely watched for insights into the direction of the ruling party under Xi, who serves as its general secretary as well as the state's president. Xi's defence of Mao's legacy and adoption of Mao-era slogans and organisation techniques have worried party liberals, reformists and activists who hoped he might crack open the door to political reform.

Analysts said Xi appeared to be trying not to lean to the right or left. "The remarks are a response to the recent ideology debates of the left and the right," said Pu Xingzu, a political scientist at Fudan University. "Xi is sending a message that he won't follow the old path of Maoism nor go astray towards Western democracy."

Xi said the party should embrace the "spirit" of Mao Zedong Thought - a guiding party doctrine including class struggle and constant revolution - to ensure its six-decade rule continues.

Xi said Mao's teachings can be summed up as "being practical and factual, staying close to the ordinary people and staying independent and autonomous".

The remarks elaborated on previous party statements on Mao Zedong Thought, but appeared to defend Xi's own policies, including an anti-corruption campaign and a more assertive foreign policy.

"All the diseases that could damage the party's advanced nature and purity should be seriously treated, and all the tumours that breed on the healthy skin of the party should be resolutely removed," Xi said. "To stay independent and autonomous means that Chinese people should take things into their own hands … No race and country can rely on external force or follow others to achieve their own revival."

Official ceremonies were held across the country, especially in Mao's home province of Hunan . But some unofficial events were banned. An organiser of annual "red songs" concerts to celebrate Mao's birthday in Hunan said they had been banned, although they could go to Mao's hometown of Shaoshan to pay tribute as individuals.

Others paid tribute in Beijing at the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

China formally eases one-child policy, abolishes labour camps

People walk outside a labour camp in Kunming, Yunnan province, November 22, 2013. REUTERS/John Ruwitch
China formally approved on Saturday easing its decades-long one-child policy and the abolition of a controversial labour camp system, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Both were among a sweeping raft of reforms announced last month after a meeting of the ruling Communist Party that mapped out policy for the next decade.

Under the new policy, couples will be allowed to have two children if one of the parents is an only child. Previously, a couple could generally only have a second child if both parents were only children.

The plan was envisioned by the government about five years ago, with officials worried that the strict controls were undermining economic growth and contributing to a rapidly ageing population China had no hope of supporting financially.

The resolution, formally approved by China's largely rubber- stamp parliament on Saturday, will allow local legislatures to decide when to implement the policies, Xinhua said.

Parliament also approved the abolition of the "re-education through labour" system, in place since 1957, which allows police to sentence petty criminals to up to four years' confinement in labour camps without going through the courts.

Critics say the system undermines the rule of law and is often used against political activists and followers of Falun Gong, a banned spiritual group.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

North Korea is more accessible to foreign journalists than Tibet is

The Tibetan Autonomous Region of China has been largely closed to the outside world since it was wracked by popular protests in 2008. But the extreme degree of its isolation is hinted at by this very revealing fact: There are more foreign journalists in North Korea than there are in Tibet.
That's according to Tibet scholar Carole McGranahan, who is a professor of the University of Colorado at Boulder and who made the point during a recent lecture at Yale University, video of which is embedded below. McGranahan discussed the rising trend of Tibetan self-immolations - a form of political protest against Chinese rule - and the challenge of understanding Tibet's turmoil.
Beijing's near-total isolation of Tibet, though, makes it awfully difficult for the outside world to see or understand what's happening there. Presumably, that's part of the point; Chinese rule in Tibet can be shockingly severe, as can the ongoing efforts to assimilate Tibetan people and culture into the rest of China.
Starting at about 15:00 into the video, McGranahan discusses one of the major challenges facing an anthropologist like herself who wants to study Tibet: simply getting information. She can't go herself unless she sneaks in, which is risky; she can't "call up friends in Tibet" without "putting them at risk," she says; Tibetans living in exile face the same problem. And she can't read journalistic reports because, with the exception of the "very brave" Chinese-Tibetan journalist Woeser, they are almost never allowed to go.
The comparison to North Korea is not an invalid one. The Chinese government, by and large, has not been anywhere near as severe or restrictive as North Korea's since leader Mao Zedong died in 1977. The two countries are just on very different paths, and being a journalist in most of China is much freer than being a journalist in North Korea. But within Tibet, some of China's old, totalitarian-tinged habits can still come through. The irony is that, in recent years, North Korea has been opening itself up to foreign journalists - albeit under extremely tight restrictions - as China has closed them off from Tibet.
The Associated Press even has a tiny bureau in Pyongyang; a deal with the devil, some critics charge, but if nothing else it produces an awful lot of very good photos of life in North Korea. There is nothing close to an analogous foreign media presence in Tibet. Sometimes the best we can do is satellite images, taken from thousands of miles away in space.
"There have been a handful, a very small handful, of journalists who've managed to get in and do some reporting," McGranahan says. "But in general, the line that I like to use is that there are more foreign journalists right now in North Korea than there are in Tibet."

Friday, 13 December 2013

Chinese Troops Surround Tibetan Monasteries, Detain Monks in Driru

Chinese security forces have surrounded monasteries with paramilitary police and detained monks in a county in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) which has been resisting forced displays of loyalty to the Chinese state, according to sources.

The security forces in recent weeks have also been raiding monks’ quarters and family homes, seizing computers and mobile phones and conducting daily political re-education sessions for area residents in “politically unstable” Driru (in Chinese, Biru) county, the sources said.

About 1,000 Tibetans have been detained since Chinese authorities launched the crackdown in Driru in September when Beijing began a campaign to force Tibetans to fly the Chinese flag from their homes. 

“Over a thousand Tibetans from Driru county are now being held in detention,” a Tibetan living in Europe told RFA’s Tibetan Service, citing information gained from contacts in the protest-hit.

Among those recently detained are about a dozen monks.

Some 600 detainees are being held in Driru’s neighboring Nagchu (Naqu) county center, with 200 held in Tsamtha village in Driru, and another 200 held in the Driru county detention center, the Europe-based Tibetan Driru Samdrub said.

“All those Tibetans under detention are being questioned and given programs in political re-education,” Samdup said.

Three Driru-area monks were seized by police at the end of November while visiting Tibet’s regional capital Lhasa, another source told RFA this week in an e-mail forwarded from Tibet.

“On Nov. 23, three monks from Tarmoe monastery in Driru were detained while they were on vacation in Lhasa,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“No information is available about their present condition,” the source said. 

Monasteries surrounded

Meanwhile, eight monks from Driru’s Rabten monastery who had studied at Palyul, Sershul, and Sertha monasteries in neighboring Chinese provinces have also been detained, the source said.

“Tarmoe, Rabten, and Dron Na monasteries [in Driru] are now surrounded by Chinese paramilitary forces,” he added.

Samdrub said a monk named Tsering Gyal from Dron Na monastery has also been reported detained and “is now missing.”

The names of the other detained monks were not immediately available, and their present whereabouts are still unknown, sources said.

For over three months, Driru county in the Tibet Autonomous Region’s (TAR) Nagchu (Naqu) prefecture has been at the center of a campaign by Tibetans resisting forced displays of loyalty to China and the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

The campaign intensified in early October when villagers refused orders to fly the Chinese flag from their homes, throwing them instead into a river and prompting a deadly security crackdown in which Chinese police fired into unarmed crowds.

'Politically unstable'

“The Chinese government has identified Driru as a county without political stability,” RFA’s source said.

“It believes that if Driru is not brought under control, this could have a disruptive impact in other areas, and they are conducting what they call an ‘intense and thorough’ political re-education program in which meetings are being conducted both day and night in the villages and monasteries.”

Area monks who have studied at Buddhist institutions in neighboring Chinese provinces are being recalled for indoctrination, while monks who have visited India and Nepal are being targeted for “intense re-education sessions,” he said.

At Tarmoe, government workers arrived at the monastery after monks had left for a one-month winter vacation and demanded their return along with the keys to the monks’ quarters, the source said.

When monastery custodians refused to hand over the keys, paramilitary police forced their way in and “ransacked some monks’ rooms, taking away computers and other personal belongings.”

“They also raided the homes of monks’ families and seized mobile phones, radio equipment, antique swords, and other miscellaneous items,” the source said.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.

A total of 124 Tibetans in China have also set themselves ablaze in self-immolation protests calling for Tibetan freedom, with another six setting fire to themselves in India and Nepal.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Nehru was no friend of the Tibetan cause: excerpt

"Despite using ‘People’ for everything, the common man in China has no space; in Tibet things are worse, the voice of the ‘People’ has been suppressed for the past 60 years. In the recent times, this has resulted in 124 immolations and a latent bitterness against the Chinese People’s Government. The voice of the people has also been suppressed in India. I was shocked when I recently came across a telegram sent by the Prime Minister (and Foreign Minister) Jawaharlal Nehru to G Parthasarathi (GP), the Indian ambassador to China. This cable, sent on May 10, 1959, just months after a popular uprising in Lhasa, is part of the latest volume of the selected works of Jawaharlal Nehru (Volume 49). The telegram describes India’s ‘China Policy’ just after the Dalai Lama had crossed the Indian border in Tawang District of Arunachal Pradesh (then the Kameng Frontier Division of the North East Frontier Agency).

The cable clearly shows that the Indian Prime Minister did not realise the Indian common men’s strong sentiments for the Tibetan people soon after the Dalai Lama had been forced to leave his homeland to take refuge in India. Nehru believed that the People’s Government in Beijing could only do ‘good’ (even if, in a painful manner) to the Common Men in Tibet. Nehru tells GP that the Opposition was just making a noise and ‘saying hard things about China chiefly to embarrass our Government’. This is far from being correct. Only three years later, when China entered into India’s territory in NEFA and Ladakh, Nehru realised the cultural and strategic importance of Tibet and its people; but then it was too late.

In 1959 in India, ordinary folks had a genuine feeling for the cause of the Tibetans; but Nehru only saw “some kind of anti-China propaganda will be carried on by some Opposition parties and individuals, chiefly as an attack on our Government.” It is not worth commenting on the Indian Communist leader’s attitudes quoted by Nehru; SA Dange, the Founding Member of the Communist Party of India believed that it was the ‘masses’ which revolted against the ‘feudal landlords’ in Tibet; the Communist theory soon became void of truth as it was mostly common men and women of Tibet who followed the Dalai Lama in exile.

He asks “What do we want? What are we aiming at? I take it that we are sad, we are distressed at events in Tibet”, and again questions, “Why are we distressed? Presumably because, we feel that a certain people are being sat upon, are being oppressed.” Though stating that he does not agree with the Indian Communists, he affirms, “I have no doubt in my mind that it is difficult to draw the line in such cases between the top feudal elements and others. They all can be mixed together. And as a result, for the moment, the [Tibetans] are all uprooted.” He then makes this startling remark, “Where a society has existed for hundreds and hundreds of years, it may have outlasted its utility”, adding “any kind of a forcible uprooting of that must necessarily be painful, whether it is a good society or a bad society.” He had decided that Tibet was not modern enough and ‘forcible uprooting’ was the only solution.

Then the Prime Minister tells GP that the Dalai Lama did ‘not fully appreciate the situation’ and ‘imagined that [India] can issue demands and bring pressure on the Chinese Government’, adding, “I am trying to explain to him that this does not fit in with the facts of life.” Other perception about ‘facts of life’ is not considered. Another extraordinary comment of Nehru is worth mentioning, he tells GP ‘the impression here that Mao Tse-Tung [Zedong] is a man of wisdom’. One wonders where this ‘here’ is. In the PMO? In Delhi? or Nehru’s mind only? The Great Leap Forward (which resulted in 40 or 50 million deaths) was then going on full swing in China. The man-made carnage was the consequence of the agricultural and industrial policies of this ‘man of wisdom’; it was one of the saddest chapters of China’s history.

The fact that India’s ruler was not ready to listen to the People has had so many tragic consequences."

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Nelson Mandela passes away at 95

Nelson Mandela, who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president, becoming an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died Thursday night. The South African president, Jacob Zuma, announced Mr. Mandela’s death.

Mr. Mandela had long said he wanted a quiet exit, but the time he spent in a Pretoria hospital this summer was a clamor of quarreling family, hungry news media, spotlight-seeking politicians and a national outpouring of affection and loss. The vigil eclipsed a visit by President Obama, who paid homage to Mr. Mandela but decided not to intrude on the privacy of a dying man he considered his hero.

Mr. Mandela ultimately died at home at 8:50 p.m. local time, and he will be buried according to his wishes in the village of Qunu, where he grew up. The exhumed remains of three of his children were reinterred there in early July under a court order, resolving a family squabble that had played out in the news media.

Mr. Mandela’s quest for freedom took him from the court of tribal royalty to the liberation underground to a prison rock quarry to the presidential suite of Africa’s richest country. And then, when his first term of office was up, unlike so many of the successful revolutionaries he regarded as kindred spirits, he declined a second term and cheerfully handed over power to an elected successor, the country still gnawed by crime, poverty, corruption and disease but a democracy, respected in the world and remarkably at peace.

The question most often asked about Mr. Mandela was how, after whites had systematically humiliated his people, tortured and murdered many of his friends, and cast him into prison for 27 years, he could be so evidently free of spite.

The government he formed when he finally won the chance was an improbable fusion of races and beliefs, including many of his former oppressors. When he became president, he invited one of his white wardens to theinauguration. Mr. Mandela overcame a personal mistrust bordering on loathing to share both power and a Nobel Peace Prize with the white president who preceded him, F. W. de Klerk.

And as president, from 1994 to 1999, he devoted much energy to moderating the bitterness of his black electorate and to reassuring whites with fears of vengeance.

The explanation for his absence of rancor, at least in part, is that Mr. Mandela was that rarity among revolutionaries and moral dissidents: a capable statesman, comfortable with compromise and impatient with the doctrinaire.

When the question was put to Mr. Mandela in an interview for this obituary in 2007 — after such barbarous torment, how do you keep hatred in check? — his answer was almost dismissive: Hating clouds the mind. It gets in the way of strategy. Leaders cannot afford to hate.

Except for a youthful flirtation with black nationalism, he seemed to have genuinely transcended the racial passions that tore at his country. Some who worked with him said this apparent magnanimity came easily to him because he always regarded himself as superior to his persecutors.

In his five years as president, Mr. Mandela, though still a sainted figure abroad, lost some luster at home as he strained to hold together a divided populace and to turn a fractious liberation movement into a credible government.

Some blacks — including Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Mr. Mandela’s former wife, who cultivated a following among the most disaffected blacks — complained that he had moved too slowly to narrow the vast gulf between the impoverished black majority and the more prosperous white minority. Some whites said he had failed to control crime, corruption and cronyism. Some blacks deserted government to make money; some whites emigrated, taking capital and knowledge with them.

Undoubtedly Mr. Mandela had become less attentive to the details of governing, turning over the daily responsibilities to the deputy who would succeed him in 1999, Thabo Mbeki.

But few among his countrymen doubted that without his patriarchal authority and political shrewdness, South Africa might well have descended into civil war long before it reached its imperfect state of democracy.

After leaving the presidency, Mr. Mandela brought that moral stature to bear elsewhere around the continent, as a peace broker and champion of greater outside investment.

No one can feel secure in China: Top US official

WASHINGTON: A top Obama administration official has said that no one can feel secure in China as the country impose strict restrictions on the fundamental rights of its people.
“The Chinese people are facing increasing restrictions, on their freedoms of expression, assembly and association. When people in China cannot hold public officials to account for corruption, environmental abuses, problems that affect China as well as the world go unaddressed,” US National Security Advisor Susan Rice said in her major policy speech on human rights.

“When courts imprison political dissidents who merely urge respect for China’s own laws, no one in China – including Americans doing business there – can feel secure.

“When ethnic and religious minorities, such as Tibetans and Uyghurs, are denied their fundamental freedoms, the trust that holds diverse societies together is undermined. Such abuses diminish China’s potential from the inside,” Rice said.

Rice said in this new century, there are few relationships more complex or important than the one between the United States and China. Building a constructive relationship with China is crucial to the future security and prosperity of the world as a whole.

“We value China’s cooperation on certain pressing security challenges, from North Korea to Iran. Our trade relationship, one of the largest in the world, supports countless American jobs. And that is precisely why we have a stake in what kind of power China will become, and that is why human rights are integral to our engagement with China,” she said.

“So the United States speaks clearly and consistently about our human rights concerns with the Chinese government at every level, including at this year’s summit between President Obama and President Xi at Sunnylands,” she said.

US officials engage their Chinese counterparts directly on specific cases of concern, like that of Liu Xiaobo, as well as about broader patterns of restrictive behaviour.

“We voice our condemnation publicly when violations occur,” Rice said.

In her speech, Rice said China is not the only country where human rights of people are being violated. She castigated Russia for its anti human rights deeds.

“The same is true of Russia … we don’t remain silent about the Russia government’s systematic efforts to curtail the actions of Russian civil society, to stigmatise the LGBT community, to coerce neighbours like Ukraine who seek closer integration with Europe, or to stifle human rights in the North Caucasus,” she said.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Under house arrest, wife of jailed Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo possibly suffering from depression

Workers prepare the Nobel Peace Prize laureate exhibition ''I Have No Enemies'' for Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo December 9, 2010. REUTERS/Toby Melville(Reuters) - The wife of jailed Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo is unwell under house arrest and possibly suffering from severe depression, but refuses to seek medical help as she is afraid of further punishment, her friends said on Monday.

The accounts from Liu Xia's friends shed a rare light into her condition since being held at home after Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Prize in 2010.

They also come two days ahead of a visit to China by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, during which human rights will likely be raised amid a broader crackdown on dissent and freedom of speech and assembly.

Liu Xia wrote to prominent human rights lawyer Mo Shaoping in August that she was "close to going crazy, close to mental collapse" during the time of the trial of her brother, Liu Hui, on fraud charges, Mo told Reuters.

"Her family is very worried and they've been giving her anti-depressants," Mo said. "It's been long-term and sustained - when you are cut off from the world for so long, how do you think your mental state would be like?"

Mo said Liu Xia fears officials may force her to accept government-appointed doctors, citing how the government has previously used mental institutions to lock up dissidents.

Liu is rarely allowed out of her home, except for occasional visits to her husband and family, and is almost never permitted visitors. She has not been convicted of any crime.

Hao Jian, who teaches at the Beijing Film Academy and is a friend of Liu, said a friend saw Liu two days ago, when Liu stood wordlessly weeping as she stood at her apartment window.

"Based on our observations, it is getting more and more serious," Hao said. "Before she could speak but now she can't say anything."

Hao, who saw Liu Xia in March, said Liu Xia was "extremely terrified and does not dare to consult doctors".

Xu Youyu, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think-tank, said he felt Liu Xia's "mental state was on the verge of collapse" the last time he saw her last December.

"She kept on repeating that the stress she was suffering is unthinkable," he said.

Liu Xiaobo, a veteran dissident involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests crushed by the Chinese army, was jailed in 2009 for 11 years on subversion charges for organizing a petition urging the overthrow of one-party rule.

Liu Xia last month filed an extraordinary appeal for her husband's retrial, in a move that could renew the focus on China's human rights record.

Confrontation with China cannot solve Tibet issue: Dalai Lama

GREATER NOIDA: Tibetans are not insisting on independence as any confrontation with China cannot solve the issue and autonomy for the region will be mutually beneficial for both sides, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said on Sunday. 

"We are not seeking independence for mutual benefit. (If) we insist independence, this results in confrontation but confrontation cannot solve problems," he said at a special public address here. 

Stressing that Tibet's autonomy would be mutually beneficial to Tibetans and the Chinese, the 78-year-old Dalai Lama said he was "not seeking a separation". He, however, said people of Tibet should have "full sovereignty about their culture, environment, and language." 

"Previously, there have been talks with the Chinese leadership but with no concrete results. Tibetans who are culturally highly developed, are also one of the pure living traditions of Buddhism and sovereignty will be mutually beneficial," he said. 

"Over two years, thousands of articles in China have expressed support for the Tibetan movement. Violence was past century's mistake, and costs both sides. Whether we like it or not, we have to live together," the Dalai Lama said. 

The spiritual leader also said the Chinese have accused Tibetans of being separatists and called him a "demon". 

Calling himself a "refugee", a "homeless" person and the longest guest of India, he expressed gratitude towards the Indian government and said he feels both psychologically and emotionally close to the country. 

Emphasizing that violence has never been able to shape a better world, the Dalai Lama said that government of India, the US and the European Union have stood in full support of the "free Tibet movement". 

The spiritual leader said events of violence like that in Israel-Palestine, the Shia-Sunni conflict or the conflict between Muslims and Buddhists in Burma have not created a better world, adding that "religious intolerance has made people hypocrites". 

Addressing dignitaries and students from India and Bhutan, the Dalai Lama called India a living example of promoting a sense of compassion and responsibilities through secular means.