On March 10, unrest erupted in Tibet. While the Chinese said Tibetans had attacked Han Chinese, looting their businesses and homes in Lhasa, the Tibetan government in exile said the spontaneous peaceful demonstrations only expressed the resentment of a population suppressed under China's colonial rule for the past 58 years.
Since then, the protests have been ruthlessly quelled by the Chinese authorities all over the Tibetan populated areas.
It is in this context that a new round of talks was held in Beijing on July 1 and 2 between the Dalai Lama's Representatives and the Chinese authorities. Before the meeting, many thought that Beijing would have to make some concessions to the Tibetans in the true spirit of the Olympics. It was not to be so.
`I don`t think the Dalai Lama is qualified to represent Tibet. If he ever did, it was before 1959, ` declared Dong Yunhu, the new director-general of the information office of the State Council.
Claude Arpi travelled to Dharamsala and met Prof Samdhong Rinpoche, the Gandhian scholar and Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, for his views on the situation inside Tibet and the current dialogue with Beijing.
Also read: Tibet: A road to nowhere
Image: Lobsang Tenzin, better known as Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, the Kalon Tripa, or Prime Minister of the Tibetan government in exile, lights a candle after inaugurating a Tibetan Library in South India. A close associate of the Dalai Lama, he was elected Prime Minister of the Central Tibetan Administration, based in Dharamsala, India, in 2001. Picture courtesy Claude Arpi. Any unauthorised reproduction is prohibited.