Sun, May 04, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Representatives of the Dalai Lama in China for talks

AP AND AFP , BEIJING AND TOKYO

Representatives of the Dalai Lama were expected to hold talks with Chinese officials yesterday on the troubled region of Tibet as state-run media in China railed against the exiled spiritual leader.

The meeting would be the first between the two sides since violent anti-government protests erupted in Tibet in March.

Details of the meeting were not available yesterday. The Dalai Lama’s office said on Friday the two envoys would have “informal talks with representatives of the Chinese leadership” and had arrived in Hong Kong.

Envoys of the Dalai Lama — Lodi Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen — would convey “deep concerns” over China’s handling of the situation in Tibet and would put forward “suggestions to bring peace to the region,” the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharmsala, India, said in a statement.

The Tibetan envoys were to meet with officials from a government department tasked to contain separatist movements, a spokesman for the exiled government said.

China has faced mounting international calls to negotiate with the Dalai Lama and some experts believe Beijing agreed to the meeting to ease pressure ahead of the Olympics.

The Tibet talks were not mentioned yesterday in China’s entirely state-run media, but two articles continued to accuse the Dalai Lama and his supporters of organizing riots with the aim of breaking the far western Himalayan region of Tibet away from Chinese rule.

“The hope of realizing Tibetan independence by the Dalai clique has become more and more dim. When their hopes shattered, the Dalai clique launched bloody violence, this was their last act of madness,” the Tibet Daily said.

A front-page story in the overseas edition of the People’s Daily, denied the Tibetan issue was related to religion, saying “the religious issue is a card played by the Dalai clique for gaining sympathy from some people.”

Meanwhile, a senior exiled leader of China’s Muslim Uighur minority called for a boycott of the Olympics, accusing Beijing of “cultural genocide” alongside its crackdown in Tibet.

”China has no right to host the Olympic Games because they represent peace, freedom and friendship,” said Dolkun Isa, secretary general of the Munich-based World Uighur Congress.

Isa said that China had failed to improve human rights in Tibet and China’s western Xinjiang region.

Isa held talks in with senior lawmakers, including former prime minister Shinzo Abe and former foreign minister Taro Aso, to seek pressure on China over its human rights record when President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) visits this week.

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