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China: Tibet

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the government of China to encourage it to (a) reach agreement with representatives of the Dalai Lama on Tibet and (b) publish a record of the discussions which it holds with those representatives. (203472)

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister spoke to Premier Wen about the situation in Tibet on 19 March, urging restraint and dialogue with the Dalai Lama. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary further emphasised the need for dialogue when he spoke to Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on 21 and 28 March, and 7 April. We have been raising the situation with the Chinese, both in Beijing and in London, on a regular basis. We are aware that Chinese officials met with representatives of the Dalai Lama on 4 May. We welcome this as the first step towards resumption of dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama and his representatives. We hope that dialogue will now continue, with substantive matters being discussed, in order to resolve the underlying issues.

We continue to urge greater transparency from the Chinese authorities on the issue of Tibet. However, it is for the Government of China and representatives of the Dalai Lama to decide whether or not to publicise the detail of their discussions.