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No chance of Hong Kong-style autonomy for Tibet, says China

China vehemently ruled out the prospect of granting Tibet autonomy in any form, instead launching a new verbal attack on the Dalai Lama's pursuit of a "middle way" for Tibetan self-governing.

Semi-autonomous status sought by Dalai Lama opposed

China vehemently ruled out the prospect of granting Tibet autonomy in any form, instead launching a new verbal attack in an official newspaper Friday on the Dalai Lama's pursuit of a "middle way" for Tibetan self-governing.

China vowed not to compromise with leaders of the Tibetan exile movement currently gathered in Dharmsala, India, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, to debate the movement's future.

An editorial in the official Tibet Daily newspaper— a mouthpiece of the region's Communist party— ruled out the possibility of extending to Tibet the special autonomous status enjoyed by Hong Kong and Macau.

The former British and Portuguese colonies retained their own police forces, legal systems and limited democratic governance after returning to China's sovereign rule in the late 1990s.

The editorial called the Dalai Lama's "middle way" proposal a deception, saying that it was tantamount to seeking outright independence for the region, which China insists has been part of its territory for over 700 years.

Many Tibetans disagree, saying they were independent for most of that time before Chinese forces invaded Tibet shortly after the 1949 Communist revolution.

The Dalai Lama has consistently said he does not seek to separate from China, but wants the region to be granted autonomy over its internal affairs.

Looking for alternatives

Meanwhile, the Tibetan exiles meeting in northern India admit they can do little more than hope for Beijing to soften its stance.

"The only thing we can do now is wait for some signals from the Chinese government that there has been a rethinking and a reconsideration of their position on the issue of Tibet," Kelsang Gyaltsen, the Dalai Lama's special envoy to China told Reuters.

However, the talks have exposed a widening rift between some young Tibetans who advocate total independence from China and the older guard, who support the Dalai Lama's stance of seeking self-rule over Tibet's internal affairs, while still remaining a part of China.

Dissident writer arrested

Meanwhile, Chen Daojun, a 40-year-old Chinese writer and journalist sympathetic to the cause of Tibet was arrested after protesting against a power plant in southwest China. He was sentenced Friday to three years in prison on charges of subverting state power, his lawyer said.

However, according to Chinese Human Rights Defenders, an overseas group, Chen's support for Tibetans who protested against Chinese rule in March is the main reason for his arrest.

The uprising of Tibetans across western China earlier this year marked the biggest challenge to Chinese rule in Tibet in nearly two decades.

PEN, the international organization that monitors human rights abuses against writers, said Chen had started to write essays and articles for overseas Chinese media in the last few years.

With files from the Associated Press and Reuters