China today said it is open to holding talks with a personal envoy of the Dalai Lama about the future of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader but ruled out any "independence or semi-independence under disguise" for the restive Himalayan region.
Beijing also denounced Prime Minister of Tibet's government-in-exile in Dharamsala, Lobsang Sangay as an "out-and-out separatist". "The door for contact is open but I want to stress that we only talk with personal envoy of Dalai (Lama) and we will only talk about the future of Dalai not anything about Tibet," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters at a briefing here. Hong was replying to a question on the 'Middle Way Approach' suggested by Sangay calling for genuine autonomy to resolve the vexed Tibet issue during his press interaction at Dharamsala yesterday.
"What Dalai should do is to discard his position of separating Tibet from China and halting all such separatist activities, much with his actions and win the trust of the Chinese government and the Chinese people," Hong said. "The Middle Way proposed by Dalai in nature is seeking for independence under disguise. Our position on this issue is clear, we will not allow any independence or semi-independence under disguise and our policies in having contact with Dalai are consistent and clear," Hong said. His comments came days ahead of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to India to establish contacts with the new government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
During his two-day visit starting on June 8, Wang is expected to meet Modi besides holding talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Hong in his press briefing today, declined to recognise Sangay's leadership. "The man you have mentioned is an out-and-out separatist. He is the so-called the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile," Hong said. "Nothing he has done so far is beneficial to the Tibetan area and this so called government-in-exile is against Chinese law. It is well organised with its own agenda to separate Tibet from China and no country in the world has recognised such a government," he said.
China which held talks with Dalai Lama's representatives in the past halted the dialogue after 2010. So far the two sides have held nine rounds of talks. Despite Dalai Lama's assertions that he advocated only autonomy not independence of Tibet, China maintained that his call for broader autonomy barring defence and foreign affairs amounted to independence.