China has failed, despite billions of dollars in aid, to win over Tibetan loyalty. And now Beijing is finally realizing just how badly it mishandled things.
So as concerns about actual separatism receded, China’s leaders recognized they really need a plan to govern the province. The money they had spent to buy the loyalty of Tibetans ($45.6 billion since 2001 for roads, trains, and housing complexes) had more or less come to nothing.
That’s why last week, after nearly 15 months of trading barbs—Beijing had shut down relations after the Olympic spotlight went dark—China’s leadership invited the Dalai Lama’s government in exile (based in the north Indian town of Dharamsala) back to talks about the province’s future. Soon, two of the Dalai Lama’s representatives, Lodi Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, left for China along with three of their aides.