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Chinese Dissidents Call on Beijing to Open Talks with Dalai Lama བོད་སྐད།


A group of Chinese dissidents called on Beijing Saturday to open direct talks with Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in an effort to end the violence in the region.

The nearly 30 dissidents also urged the Chinese government to open Tibet to foreign media and allow United Nations investigators into the region. They say independent views are needed to change what they called the international community's "distrust."

Meanwhile, China's Communist Party newspaper is calling on the government to "resolutely crush" Tibet's independence movement.

A commentary in the "People's Daily" accuses the Dalai Lama of plotting recent anti-government protests in Tibet in hopes of undermining the upcoming Beijing Olympics and splitting Tibet from China.

The Dalai Lama has denied calling for protests.

Chinese authorities have raised the official death toll from the past week's riots to 19, including 18 civilians and a policeman. Tibetan exile groups say at least 80 people were killed in Lhasa, and that clashes in other Chinese provinces claimed nearly 20 lives.

Reports from China say Beijing has sent elite units of the People's Liberation Army into Tibet to crack down on the protests.

China has expelled all foreign journalists from Tibet and tried to prevent others from reaching neighboring provinces. Before they were forced to leave, journalists were able to report on a buildup of thousands of troops, along with blockades and checkpoints across a wide swath of western China.

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