Are the Tibetans to blame for the failure of negotiatons?

Barry Sautman’s recent column in South China Morning Post is hard to stomach. Sautman is one of the most notable Western academic defenders of Chinese policies in Tibet. This is a fine thing, since he tends to make rational arguments in favor of his opinions. Even if we don’t agree with his conclusions, his arguments give us an opportunity to reflect more deeply on our own opinions and so see the world more clearly. Obviously, that doesn’t put him above critique, which is richly deserved in the case of his new article, “The Tibetan Impasse”, a response to an earlier article by Lodi Gyari. Sautman’s basic thesis, as stated in his first paragraph, is that, “Three decades of ‘negotiations about negotiations’ between the Dalai Lama’s envoys and Beijing have not made progress because, although exile leaders claim they are not separatists, they continue with assertions and actions that belie that claim.” Thus, he places blame squarely on the shoulders of the Tibetans. Continue reading “Are the Tibetans to blame for the failure of negotiatons?”