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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?"

Dalai Lama's envoys head to China

January 26, 2010

By Geoff Dyer in Beijing
Financial Times
January 25 2010 15:59

Representatives of the Dalai Lama will arrive in
China on Tuesday for talks with the Chinese
authorities, the first such meeting in 15 months,
the Tibetan government-in-exile said on Monday.

The talks will be the latest stage in a dialogue
over the future of Tibet that began in 2002 but
which has produced little sign of agreement between the two sides.

The Tibetan government-in-exile, which is based
in the Indian town of Dharamsala, gave no further
details on Monday evening about the timing or
location of the talks, saying in a statement only
that the delegation would return to India in
early February. The United Front Work Department,
the Communist party body involved in previous
talks, was not available for comment.

The apparent resumption of talks over Tibet comes
as the Obama administration is considering a
possible meeting between the president and the
Dalai Lama, which Tibetan officials say they were
promised last year by senior administration officials.

During the past 12 months, China has been using
its increased diplomatic clout to try to further
isolate the Dalai Lama internationally, putting
pressure on a number of European governments not
to meet the Tibetan religious leader.

The new round of talks follows a top-level
meeting last week of senior leaders in China to
discuss Tibet, which pledged to "leapfrog
development and lasting stability" to Tibetan regions of the country.

The meeting, which was attended by China’s
President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and
vice-president Xi Jinping, said new efforts would
be made to "greatly improve the living standards"
of people in Tibet to national levels by 2020,
the Xinhua news agency reported at the weekend.

Beijing has invested heavily in Tibet -- $45.6bn
since 2001, Xinhua said -- in the hope that
robust economic development would damp
long-simmering ethnic tension in the region.
However, the outburst of riots and protests in
early 2008, both in Tibet and other parts of the
country with large Tibetan populations, indicated
that such resentments remain deeply-ingrained.

China blamed the Dalai Lama for the unrest and
appears to have hardened its position towards the
Tibetan exiles in recent months, leading analysts
to doubt that a new round of talks would achieve a great deal.

The Dalai Lama denies any involvement in the
unrest and claims that he supports only greater
autonomy for Tibet and not independence.
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