More Tibetan autonomy 'not up for discussion': China

Beijing: Beijing threw cold water today on the possibility of re-launching talks with the Dalai Lama, saying greater autonomy for Tibet was "not up for discussion" and accusing the spiritual leader of backing "ethnic cleansing".

The statement comes months after the exiled spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner expressed optimism that Chinese President Xi Jinping may be open to re-starting dialogue regarding the region.

In its nearly 18,000-word white paper, the State Council Information Office, China's Cabinet, declared that the Dalai Lama must focus on seeking "forgiveness" from the Chinese government.

"Any negotiations will be limited to seeking solutions for the Dalai Lama to completely abandon separatist claims and activities and gain the forgiveness of the central government and the Chinese people, and to working out what he will do with the rest of his life," the white paper said.

"As the political status and system of Tibet is stipulated by the Chinese Constitution and laws, the 'Tibet issue' and 'a high degree of autonomy' are not up for discussion," it added, dismissing the Tibetan government-in- exile as "essentially a separatist political group".

The ruling Communist Party held nine rounds of dialogue with the Dalai Lama's envoys from 2002 to 2010 but the process produced no visible results.

The Dalai Lama has previously expressed optimism about the current administration in Beijing, in what some have seen as a possible easing of tensions with China, which has accused him of seeking secession for Tibet. The 79-year-old Buddhist leader denies aspirations for independence and says he seeks "a high degree of autonomy" for the region.

He has called for limits to state-backed Han Chinese migration to Tibet, and the white paper said his stance was "tantamount to an ethnic cleansing of the plateau". "The Dalai group's logic is absurd and chilling, proposing to force tens of millions of people of other ethnic groups out of this region where they have lived for generations," it alleged.

More than 130 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in China since 2009, most of them fatal, according to rights groups, most recently when a Tibetan nun set herself aflame last week to protest China's rule over the region. The Dalai Lama has described the self-immolations as spontaneous acts of desperation and said he is powerless to stop them.

But the Beijing document accused the Dalai Lama of secretly backing violence in the region while "feigning beneficence to gain international sympathy and support".

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