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Hawks blocking Dalai Lama invite

July 3, 2008

Venkatesan Vembu
DNA India
July 3, 2008

HONG KONG -- A second day of talks between Chinese officials and the
Dalai Lama's special envoys concluded in Beijing amid signs of a
conservative backlash building up within the Communist Party against
yielding to global pressure to invite the exiled Tibetan spiritual
leader to China.

No details were available of the substance of Wednesday's secret
talks between Chinese interlocutors and the Dalai Lama's envoys, Lodi
Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen. But Tibetan hopes that an invitation to
the Dalai Lama to visit China would be proffered as a sign of
progress in the formal talks have not been realised.

DNA had reported on Wednesday, citing informed sources, that the
Chinese authorities may extend such an invitation to the Dalai Lama
as part of a peace deal to ensure a boycott-free Olympics and to
pacify Tibetan sentiments.

World leaders, including  US President George Bush and French
President Nicolas Sarkozy, have come under pressure to boycott the
Olympics opening ceremony as a mark of protest against China's
repressive handling of the recent Tibetan  uprising.

Conservative elements within the Communist Party stepped up their
rhetoric of denunciation of the Dalai Lama, evidently to sabotage any
attempt at effecting a reconciliation of sorts by inviting the Dalai
Lama. Tibet's Communist Party leader Zhang Qingli, who has in the
past called the Dalai Lama "a wolf in monk's robes", has reiterated
the charge that the exiled leader and his supporters were responsible
for the March 14 violence in Tibet.

"The March 14 incident was a violent criminal incident masterminded
by the Dalai clique, with the support and instigation of hostile
Western forces," Zhang said. It was timed to "sabotage the Olympics,"
he added.

More media commentaries critical of the Dalai Lama, and targeting the
Tibetan Youth Congress as "a radical spearhead of violence supported
and employed by the Dalai Lama clique," were published on Wednesday.
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