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Dalai envoys says China lacking commitment to talks

July 6, 2008

By Abhishek Madhukar
July 5, 2008

DHARAMSALA, India (Reuters) -- Envoys of the Dalai Lama said on
Saturday the Chinese lacked serious commitment and that talks on
easing tensions after protests against Chinese rule in Tibet were not
serving any purpose.

They said the talks, held from July 1-2 in Beijing, were marked by
personal attacks on the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader and the
welfare of the Tibetan people was not discussed.

"We were compelled to candidly convey to our counterparts that in the
absence of serious and sincere commitment on their part, the
continuation of the present dialogue process would serve no purpose,"
Lodi Gyari, one envoy, said in India.

This was the second meeting between the two since a crackdown on
protests against Chinese rule in Tibet earlier this year. The Tibet
protests led to international calls for China to hold talks with the
exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

The envoys said the Chinese were preoccupied with the Olympic Games
and it seemed to them that talks were held just to make sure the
Games were held peacefully.

"There is a growing perception among the Tibetans, among friends of
Tibet ... that the whole tactic of the Chinese government in engaging
us is to stall for time," Gyari said.

The envoys said they agreed to talk in October, effectively after the Games.

Chinese officials met representatives of the Dalai Lama on May 4, but
the next round of talks scheduled for June was postponed after an
earthquake killed about 70,000 people.

At the latest talks, the envoys told their Chinese counterparts that
the Dalai Lama, was not responsible for any violence in Tibet, adding
that the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) was not a militant group as
charged by the Chinese.

"We categorically rejected the Chinese attempt to label it as a
violent and terrorist organization," Gyari said in Dharamsala,
headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile in India.

The Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising
against Chinese rule, wants autonomy for the Himalayan region.
Beijing has branded him a separatist and says his conditions amount
to a bid for independence.

China has also blamed what it called the "Dalai Lama clique" for
violence in Tibet in March and subsequent protests that disrupted the
Olympic torch relay in several countries.

The Dalai has said he supports the Olympics and appealed to Tibetans
not to protest during the August 8-24 Beijing Games.

The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate has also said that he has no control
over the activists of the Tibet Youth Congress, who demand independence.

(Writing by Bappa Majumdar; editing by Elizabeth Piper)
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