View Full Version : China to meet Dalai Lama envoy

Apr 26th, 2008, 05:52 AM


BEIJING, China (CNN) -- Chinese officials will reportedly meet a representative of the Dalai Lama in coming days amid international pressure on Beijing to re-open dialogue with Tibet's exiled spiritual leader after recent violence in the Himalayan region.

The Dalai Lama speaks during a visit to Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, Tuesday.

The state-run Xinhua news agency quoted a Chinese official saying that the meeting is hoped to bring an end to pro-Tibetan protests that have disrupted the Olympic torch relay and threaten to spill over into the 2008 Beijing Games.

The Dalai Lama welcomed the development. A statement issued by his secretary, Tenzin Takhla, said: "His Holiness, since March 10th, has made every effort to reach out to the Chinese leadership.

"He has long said: 'The only way we can solve our differences is with face-to-face dialog.'"

China -- which has accused the Dalai Lama of agitating recent violence in Tibet, an autonomous region of China -- has previously held meetings with the spiritual leader's representatives, but none have taken place since July 2007.

"In view of the requests repeatedly made by the Dalai side for resuming talks, the relevant department of the central government will have contact and consultation with Dalai's private representative in the coming days," Xinhua quoted a Chinese official as saying.

The official said China hopes the meetings will lead the Dalai Lama to "take credible moves to stop activities aimed at splitting China, stop plotting and inciting violence and stop disrupting and sabotaging the Beijing Olympic Games so as to create conditions for talks," Xinhua reported.

World leaders, including U.S. President George W. Bush and his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy, have recently urged China to resume discussions.

Sarkozy Friday says China's offer is a "major step" and a reason for "real hope," The Associated Press reported.

"If they ever were to reach out to the Dalai Lama, they'd find him to be a really fine man, a peaceful man, a man who is anti-violence, a man who is not for independence but for the cultural identity of the Tibetans being maintained," President George W. Bush told reporters on April 9.

The Olympic torch relay has been targeted on its journeys by pro-Tibet demonstrators in London, England; Paris, France; and San Francisco, California. Stops in those cities attracted tens of thousands of demonstrators and prompted dozens of arrests.

CNN correspondent John Vause in Beijing described the latest comments from China as "significant" even though such meetings have been going on since the 1980s.

"But there is still a long, long way to go before communist leaders sit down in the same room, at the same table as the Dalai Lama," he added.

Vause said a resumption of discussions now could, however, buy Chinese leaders some breathing space in the run-up to the Olympics as they seek to ease international pressure that could overshadow the event.

Chinese Internet bloggers, who have aggressively defended the country's reputation in the face of global criticism -- lashing out at international media coverage of Tibet-related protests -- were quick to comment on the latest move.

"Even though death would not be punishment enough for what the Dalai Lama has done ... as a son who has done something wrong, the motherland is always the parent. If the son does not behave, the parent should strictly reprimand him," said one, quoted by Vause.

Apr 26th, 2008, 02:33 PM
Well we will wait and see.