Tue, May 06, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Tibetan envoys, Beijing agree to hold future talks

‘MONSTROUS CRIMES’ Chinese media blasted the Dalai Lama and described his plans for a ‘greater Tibetan region’ as both fraudulent and confusing

AP AND AFP , BEIJING AND SHENZHEN, CHINA

Chinese officials and envoys of the Dalai Lama have agreed to a second round of talks, China’s state-run media said yesterday, in an apparent sign of progress in easing tensions raised by violent anti-government riots in Tibet.

State TV and Xinhua news agency said that the first round of talks had ended after one day, but that no formal announcement was made.

CCTV said on its noon news broadcast that the two Tibetan envoys had to report back to the Dalai Lama in India and that both sides had “agreed to meet again at a suitable time.”

Xinhua said, however, that the Chinese officials had told the Dalai Lama’s envoys at their meeting on Sunday that the protests had spawned new obstacles to communication.

International critics have accused China of heavy-handed tactics in quelling the anti-government riots and protests in Tibet and Tibetan areas of western China.

Some specialists believe Beijing agreed to meet the envoys to defuse that criticism ahead of the Beijing Olympics in August.

The talks were held in Shenzhen, but neither side commented to a large group of foreign reporters waiting outside a palm tree-lined statehouse venue.

Xinhua said the Chinese officials “answered patiently” questions raised by the Dalai Lama’s envoys.

But even as the talks took place, China kept up its verbal attacks on the Dalai Lama.

“The central government hoped that to create conditions for the next round of contact and consultation, the Dalai side would take credible moves to stop activities aimed at splitting China, stop plotting and inciting violence and stop disrupting and sabotaging the Beijing Olympic Games,” Xinhua said.

The Dalai Lama has repeatedly said he was not behind the recent unrest and that his envoys planned to ask China to address the accusations, said Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile based in Dharamsala, India.

State media also accused the Dalai Lama of “monstrous crimes.”

“Following the March 14 incident in Lhasa, the Dalai has not only refused to admit his monstrous crimes, but he has continued to perpetuate fraud,” an article in yesterday’s state Tibet Daily said.

The article, which did not refer to Sunday’s talks, described the Dalai Lama’s demands for “genuine autonomy” in Tibet and the “greater Tibetan region” as fraudulent.

The “Dalai Clique” is trying to “confuse public opinion and incite ethnic hatred,” the article said.

The Dalai Lama’s attempt to realize a “greater Tibetan region is part of his attempt to split the motherland,” it said.

The English-language China Daily called the Tibetan Youth Congress, run by exiled Tibetans, a “terrorist organization” bent on separating Tibet from China.

The two envoys who held the talks with the Chinese officials will return to India today or tomorrow and would then brief the Dalai Lama, Tibetan officials said.

US President George W. Bush was one of the world leaders who had pressured China to restart negotiations to end the Tibetan crisis and the White House immediately welcomed their resumption.

“We hope discussions can lead to better understanding,” White House spokesman Tony Fratto said on Sunday.

China also put its choice for the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, Tibetan Buddhism’s second-highest figure, on state TV yesterday to praise the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

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