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Chinese leaders unbending on Tibet talks, Rudd says

April 11, 2008

By DPA
 From Monsters and Critics.com
Asia-Pacific News
Apr 10, 2008

Beijing - Chinese leaders are sticking to their position on Tibet
despite calls from Western politicians for them to allow media access
and hold talks

with the exiled Dalai Lama, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said on
Thursday.

The views on Tibet given by Premier Wen Jiabao and other leaders were
'consistent with the public position we've seen from the Chinese government

in recent times,' Rudd told reporters shortly after meeting Wen for two
and a half hours.

Rudd said he urged Wen to hold a dialogue with the Dalai Lama and had
'considerable discussion' lasting some 30 minutes on the recent unrest in

China's Tibetan areas.

'I think we have a different view, that's quite plain,' he said of the
discussion with Wen on Tibet.

'The dialogue (with the Dalai Lama) was of course raised and the
position I've put to the Chinese was entirely consistent with what I've
said

publicly,' he said.

'When it comes to the particular events of recent times, the position of
the Australian government is that there are significant human rights
problems

in Tibet,' Rudd said.

Australia wants to see a solution to the problems through dialogue and
'non-violent approaches,' he said.

China's foreign ministry reported that Wen had discussed 'facts' about
Tibet with Rudd but did not mention the Dalai Lama or the call for dialogue.

Wen introduced to Rudd the 'facts about the economic development,
promotion of human rights and protection of culture in China's Tibet

Autonomous Region', the ministry said on its website.

Rudd said Australia would continue working with the international
community to urge China to resolve the problems in Tibet but he saw a
'challenging

period ahead' before the Beijing Olympics in August.

'We have still a ways to go between now and August, and I think all the
people of goodwill will be engaging all relevant parties, including the

Chinese, to see if we can act constructively on this,' he said when
asked about the push for China to talk to the Dalai Lama.

Rudd reiterated his opposition to a boycott of the Beijing Olympics but
said he still had to look at work commitments before deciding if he would

attend the games.

On Wednesday, US President George W Bush repeated his own call for China
to hold talks with the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism's highest leader, has been the target
of an intensified propaganda campaign by the Chinese government in recent

weeks.

China refuses to talk directly to him and continues to accuse him of
pursuing independence for Tibet, despite his regular statements that he
only

wants maximum autonomy and religious freedom for Tibet within China

The government partly blames the Dalai Lama for the pro-independence
protests and rioting that have erupted in dozens of Tibetan areas over the

past month, and for pro-Tibetan protests during international legs of
the Olympic torch relay.

Protests that began on March 10 in Lhasa, the capital of the Autonomous
Region, escalated into serious rioting on March 14.

The Chinese government has said 19 people were killed in the violence in
Lhasa but the Tibetan government-in-exile said about 140 people were

killed, most of them Tibetans shot by Chinese police.
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