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2009年1月 3日 (土)



--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 31(IHT/Asahi: January 3,2009)

EDITORIAL: China-Tibet dialogue


The year 2008 was shaken by turmoil in Tibet, where riots erupted last March and protests targeting the torch relay for the Beijing Olympic Games spread around the world.


French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the current national chair of the European Union's rotating presidency, enraged Beijing in December when he had talks for the first time with the 14th Dalai Lama, the top leader of Tibetan Buddhism.


A Chinese Foreign Ministry press secretary said Sarkozy's meeting with a political exile determined to break up the homeland is an outrageous interference in China's internal affairs and has deeply hurt the people's feelings.


Some among the Chinese public criticized Sarkozy's meeting as tantamount to former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to war-related Yasukuni Shrine.


The Chinese, who issued repeated warnings against a meeting with the Dalai Lama, postponed a summit with the EU scheduled in Lyon, France.


With the impact of the global financial crisis extending into the real economy, the failure to hold the summit between China and the EU, two powers expected to play key roles in getting the world economy back on track, is extremely regrettable.


Sarkozy's decision to proceed with the meeting over Beijing's protests reflected not only the French public's concerns about human rights but also France's aim to again appeal to Beijing for the importance of talking with the Dalai Lama.


Since the turmoil in March, talks between the Dalai Lama's envoy and Chinese authorities, which began under prodding from international opinion, remain stalled.


The Dalai Lama has not shifted his moderate policy line that reportedly favors a higher degree of autonomy, but not independence, for Tibet.


Yet Beijing refuses to accept that line, claiming that the religious leader has his sights set on virtual independence. China's stance was so rigid that we believe its resumption of dialogue was a pose intended to avoid undermining the buildup to the Summer Olympics.


Reacting to such a stance from China, an increasing number of hard-liners in Tibet, primarily young people, are demanding independence.


At a conference of exiled Tibetans convened in November, participants agreed to maintain the middle-of-the-road path. But the prevailing view was that Beijing's failure to take positive steps would leave no choice but to push for independence.


Beijing bureaucrats may doubt the true extent of "autonomy" sought by the Dalai Lama because of the Tibetans who live outside the autonomous region and non-Tibetans who follow the Tibetan Buddhism faith.


Nonetheless, Chinese authorities would be well advised to proceed with talks with the Dalai Lama, who is widely supported in Tibetan society.


Some Chinese officials appear intent on delaying discourse in light of the Dalai Lama's age, 73. But actions based on such motives would block the existing lines of communication between the two sides, running the risk of sparking another round of riots.


2009 is also a sensitive milestone--the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan Revolt.


Following the turmoil in March, the Japanese government, in a quiet and resilient fashion, urged Beijing to agree to dialogue. Japan was not as loud as Western countries in this regard.


This approach resulted in some Chinese saying that Japanese diplomacy valuing face bore fruit. This Japanese-style approach should be carried on.



« 余録:「水仙いちりんのお正月です」… | トップページ | 公益法人改革―「民の力」が育つように »





« 余録:「水仙いちりんのお正月です」… | トップページ | 公益法人改革―「民の力」が育つように »