US envoy calls for Beijing ‘dialogue’ with Dalai Lama

26 May, 2019 12:00 AM printer

BEIJING: The US ambassador to China has called on Beijing to open a “substantive dialogue” with the Dalai Lama in remarks made this week during a rare visit to Tibet, his embassy said Saturday.

Terry Branstad visited northwest China’s Qinghai province—home to many Tibetans—as well as the Tibet Autonomous Region, where access is restricted for diplomats and journalists.

“He encouraged the Chinese government to engage in substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, without preconditions, to seek a settlement that resolves differences,” an embassy spokesman told AFP via email.

China is accused by human rights groups of repressing Tibet’s religion and culture, and cracking down on separatism.

Beijing says it protects religious freedom and has invested heavily to modernise the region and raise living standards.

Since fleeing to India in 1959 following a failed uprising in the Tibetan capital Lhasa, the Dalai Lama has been trying to reach a compromise with the Chinese government over the fate of his people.