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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."

Dalai Lama invited to China?

July 3, 2008

Venkatesan Vembu
DNA India
July 2, 2008

Beijing move aimed at 'peace deal' to pave way for smooth Olympics

HONG KONG -- Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama may be invited to
Beijing for a historic visit ahead of the Olympics in August as part
of a 'peace deal' conceived by Chinese authorities to ensure a
smooth, boycott-free Olympics, informed sources told DNA.

"Chinese authorities are expected to formally extend an invitation to
the Dalai Lama, perhaps as early as on Wednesday, when they meet his
special envoys in Beijing," the sources said. The special envoys,
Lodi Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, held talks with Chinese officials on
Tuesday, but no details were immediately available of what was discussed.

If an invitation to the Dalai Lama is indeed extended and accepted,
it would mark the first visit to China of the spiritual leader of six
million Tibetans since he fled Tibet for India in 1959 following a
failed uprising against Chinese rule.

China's invitation to the Dalai Lama, the sources added, is perhaps
intended to enlist his help in pacifying Tibetan sentiments, which
have been inflamed since the March 14 uprising that was put down by
Chinese authorities.

Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama of instigating the violence, a
charge he has repeatedly denied.

The 'peace deal' may also be part of an effort by China to project a
face of moderation to the world and avert the possibility of a
boycott of the opening ceremony by world leaders, the sources said.

Following China's crackdown on Tibetan protesters in March, world
leaders, including US President George Bush and French President
Nicolas Sarkozy, had come under pressure from liberal constituencies
within their countries to boycott the Olympics opening ceremony as a
mark of protest.

Yet, for all the symbolism associated with a likely visit to China by
the Dalai Lama, it is difficult to say with any certainty whether
this will lead to a larger agreement on Tibet. China considers the
Dalai Lama a "splittist," and to this day has kept up a chorus of
media criticism of him.

The Dalai Lama, however, has repeatedly said he is campaigning for
"genuine autonomy," not independence, for Tibet.
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