China 'always open' to Tibet talks

Chinese premier says "ongoing progress" in region proves Beijing's policies correct.

    China has employed tough security measures to prevent unrest in the Tibetan areas [Reuters]

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    Tibet, he said, was "peaceful and stable" proving that "the policies we have adopted are correct."

    His comments came at the end of a week that marked the 50th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.

    The anniversary has been an anxious time for China's leaders, eager to prevent a repeat of protests that swept several parts of Tibet and neighbouring Chinese provinces last year in the biggest display of opposition to Beijing's rule in several decades.

    In the run up to the anniversary China had deployed thousands of police and paramilitary forces to the area and banned foreigners and journalists from the region to in a bid to stifle any outbreaks of unrest.

    It was also reported to have cut off mobile phone and internet communications.

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    On Tuesday, in a speech marking the anniversary of flight into exile, the Dalai Lama said Chinese rule had made his homeland "hell on Earth".

    Wen however rejected the Tibetan spiritual leader's claims, saying the Chinese government had accelerated "the pace of economic development and worked to improve the living standards of the Tibetan farmers and herdsmen".

    "It is a fact that Tibet's peace and stability and continued progress have proven that the policies we have adopted are correct."

    He said the government would push ahead with what it calls its policy of opening up Tibet - a policy which critics say is aimed at smothering Tibetan culture and identity by encouraging migration of ethnic Han Chinese to the region.

    "Tibet will remain committed firmly to the policy of opening up because this meets the needs of Tibet's own development," Wen said.

    Last year, representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government held three separate rounds of talks but little progress was made.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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