Fri, Jun 13, 2008 - Page 5 News List

Dalai Lama: China talks could resume next month


The Dalai Lama said yesterday that talks with China’s government on resolving unrest in Tibet might resume next month, and he urged his supporters not to cause trouble when the Olympic torch is in the Himalayan territory.

The exiled Tibetan leader said he supports China’s stated desire for a stable and harmonious society, but he also renewed his call for Beijing to grant Tibet meaningful autonomy.

“Stability, unity must come from the heart, not a gun,” the Dalai Lama told a news conference in Sydney. “And harmonious society must come from ... trust. Give Tibetans meaningful autonomy; that will satisfy Tibetans.”

Representatives of the Tibetan government-in-exile met with Chinese officials in early May for informal talks on how to move beyond the unrest in the region, which flared in March into violence that killed at least 22 people.

The clashes fueled anger at China’s rule in Tibet, and the Olympic torch relay became a focus of Tibetan pro-independence protests in Paris, London and other cities that threatened to cast a shadow over the Beijing Games in August.

The Chinese government blames the Dalai Lama for the unrest, saying it was part of a campaign to split Tibet from the rest of China. The Dalai Lama has denied those charges, saying he wants meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people under China’s rule, not independence.

He said plans for a formal round of talks between his envoys and Beijing’s had been postponed because of China’s disastrous May 12 earthquake, which killed almost 70,000 people.

“This [is] not a pullout, simply this is a postponement,” the Dalai Lama said.

He said the meeting would take place “maybe next month.”

The Dalai Lama also reiterated his call for his supporters not to target the Beijing Olympics or the torch.

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