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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China willing to engage on Tibet - Dalai Lama envoy

May 9, 2008

By Abhishek Madhukar
The Guardian (UK)/Reuters
  May 8 2008

(Adds quotes from news conference, detail)

DHARAMSALA, India, May 8 (Reuters) -- An envoy to the Dalai Lama said
on Thursday Chinese negotiators had shown a willingness to engage
with the Tibetan side during recent talks, despite major differences
on important issues.

"There were strong and divergent views on the nature as well as the
causes of the recent tragic events in Tibet," the envoy, Lodi Gyari,
said in a statement issued in Dharamsala, home of the Tibetan
government-in-exile.

"These views were expressed in a frank and candid manner."

Each side exchanged "concrete proposals which can be part of a future
agenda", Lodi Gyari said, adding that the next meeting should not be delayed.

"We will only announce the date after we have discussed with our
counterparts and both sides have agreed," he said.

China says the "Dalai Lama clique" was responsible for the
disturbances in Tibet and protests over the Olympic torch, which
reached the top of Mount Everest on Thursday.

The Chinese state-run media this week accused the Tibetan spiritual
leader of trying to blacken China's name and prevent its rise, days
after the two sides held talks.

Analysts say this conflicting stand of China of maintaining a
hardline public face at the same time as offering talks was a common practice.

Lodi Gyari said the Tibetan side had categorically rejected the
Chinese accusations the Dalai Lama was behind demonstrations and
unrest in Tibet which began in March.

Instead the team of two envoys had argued that events in Tibet were
"a clear symptom of deeply felt grievances and resentment of the
Tibetans" towards Chinese government policies going back decades.
"The task at hand is to address the legitimate concerns of the
Tibetan people in a realistic and constructive way," Lodi Gyari said.

"Despite major differences on important issues, both sides
demonstrated a willingness to seek common approaches in addressing
the issues at hand," he said.

He said the Tibetan side had appealed for an end to "the current
repression" throughout Tibet, the release of prisoners and proper
medical treatment for those injured in the recent unrest.

"We welcome the recent statement of President Hu Jintao that his
government is 'serious' about the dialogue and his acknowledging that
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is being 'conscientious and serious'," he said.
The envoy also called for an end to China's "patriotic re-education"
campaign, which he said was deeply resented by the Tibetan people.

On Thursday climbers wearing red brought the Olympic flame to the
summit of Mount Everest, unfurling the Chinese national flag, the
Olympic flag and a flag bearing the Beijing Olympic logo, and
shouting joyously into a TV camera.

But Tibetan groups said they planned prayer vigils around the world
later in the day to mourn those killed in protests in Tibet. (Writing
by Simon Denyer, Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee)
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