Tibet government head rules out talks with `exile government'

Tibet government head rules out talks with `exile government'

Padma Choling, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, said his government is the only legal government representing the Tibetans and that none of the world's countries recognise the "exile government", reported Xinhua.

The Dalai Lama, 75, has lived in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959 after a Chinese army crackdown. His government-in-exile, which is not recognised by any country, is based here.

Choling said Tibet's feudal serfdom system, which is ruled by a conjoined political and religious authority, was abolished in 1959.

"You said the Dalai Lama has picked a successor. But what he is going to succeed, and from whom?" Choling asked at a press conference held in Beijing.

US-based Lobsang Sangay was last month elected the new Kalon Tripa, or the Tibetan prime minister-in-exile.

"I am the eighth chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, the only legitimate government elected by Tibetans since 1965," Choling was quoted as saying.

Choling said that if talks with the Dalai Lama are held, the Chinese government will only talk about the future of the Dalai Lama and the people around him and that the Chinese government will not talk about the "exile government". 

The door is open for talks with the Dalai Lama as long as he truly relinquishes his stance of "Tibetan independence" and stops participating in separatist activities, Choling said.

"The key is not what he says, but what he does," Choling said. "The Dalai Lama knows the central government's stance for sure."

The Tibetan official said the Dalai Lama's retirement will only have limited effects on Tibet, comparing his retirement to "a wave in a swimming pool".