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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Tibetan envoys seek release of prisoners

May 9, 2008

Agence France-Presse
May 8, 2008

Dharamshala -- Dalai Lama envoys told Beijing to release Tibetan
prisoners and end 're-education' during weekend talks with Chinese
officials over unrest in Tibet, one of the envoys said on Thursday.

Despite the specific requests by the Dalai Lama envoys, an agreement
was reached between the two sides to hold more talks at a date to be
decided, representative Lodi Gyari said in a statement.

''We have called for the release of prisoners, to allow those injured
to be given proper medical treatment and give unfettered access to
visitors, including the media,'' Gyari said.

''We have also called for an end to the 'patriotic re-education'
campaign which is deeply resented by the Tibetan people,'' Gyari said.

The Chinese government offered to hold the talks following sustained
pressure from international leaders to reopen negotiations amid seven
weeks of deadly unrest in Tibet and other parts of China with Tibetan

Tibetans have risen up in protest against what they say has been
nearly six decades of repression living under Chinese rule in the
Himalayan region.

China's crackdown on the unrest has sparked international concern and
protests that have targeted the Olympic torch relay and marred the
runup to the Beijing Olympics.

The talks, held on Sunday in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen,
were the first meeting between the two sides in more than a year.

''Despite major differences on important issues, both sides
demonstrated a willingness to seek common approaches ... each side
made some concrete proposals which can be part of the future
agenda,'' the statement said.

''As a result, an understanding was reached to continue the formal
round of discussions. A date for the seventh round will be finalised
soon after mutual consultation.''

The two Dalai Lama envoys arrived back in India on Tuesday to brief
the spiritual leader in Dharamshala, seat of the Tibetan
government-in-exile about the talks.

China on Tuesday laid out ground rules for further talks with the
Dalai Lama, saying he must first stop pushing for Tibetan
independence and provoking deadly unrest in his homeland. China's
foreign ministry spokesman also told reporters that Beijing's contact
with the Dalai Lama was sincere.

The unrest began with monks leading peaceful protests on March 10 in
Tibet's capital, Lhasa, to mark the anniversary of the 1959 uprising.

The protests erupted into widespread rioting in Lhasa on March 14,
then spread to other areas of western China with Tibetan populations.

The Tibetan government-in-exile says 203 Tibetans have been killed
and about 1,000 hurt in the Chinese military and police crackdown on
the unrest.

China denies these accusations, saying its forces have acted with
restraint, and in turn charges Tibetan ''rioters'' and ''insurgents''
with killing 21 people.
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