Tibet: Politics and Government

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 22nd October 2008.

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Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker Shadow Secretary of State for Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on Tibet's right to national self-determination; and what recent steps he has taken in pursuing that policy.

Photo of Bill Rammell Bill Rammell Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Successive Governments have regarded Tibet as autonomous while recognising the special position of the Chinese authorities there. We have consistently informed the Chinese Government of our view that greater autonomy should be granted to the Tibetans. But like all other EU members, we do not support Tibetan independence.

We have emphasised that the current political difficulties in Tibet can best be resolved through dialogue between the Chinese Government and the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama has stated publicly that he opposes violence and does not seek independence, but greater autonomy for Tibet. We consider that this provides a basis for a negotiated settlement to the issue of Tibet.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister had talks with both Premier Wen and President Hu while in China for the Olympic games. He reiterated our desire that the next round of the dialogue between the Chinese Government and representatives of the Dalai Lama should take place in a constructive manner and produce positive outcomes.

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