China's government says it has agreed to meet with a private representative of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in the coming days.
A report Friday by China's state-run Xinhua news agency says officials agreed to the meeting in response to requests from the Dalai Lama. The report did not provide any additional details.
The Chinese officials said they hope dialogue will push the Dalai Lama to stop inciting violence in China and sabotaging the Beijing Olympics. The Dalai Lama says he is opposed to violence, and that he does not want to disrupt the Olympics.
Tibet's government-in-exile welcomed the invitation for dialogue, but said it was still waiting for more details.
The United States, European Union and France also welcomed the Chinese announcement.
The international community has been stepping up calls for Beijing to hold talks with the Dalai Lama ever since China began its crackdown on anti-government protests in Tibet and other Tibetan areas last month.
U.S. national security council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Washington welcomed the news that Chinese authorities were willing to meet with the Dalai Lama.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy called China's decision a "major step." Mr. Sarkozy has suggested he might not attend the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Games if the situation in Tibet does not improve.
Tibet's government-in-exile says more than 150 people died in a Chinese crackdown since mid-March. China blames Tibetan rioters for the deaths of at least 20 people.
China frequently blames the Dalai Lama for masterminding the protests, and accuses him of trying to separate the Himalayan region from China. The Dalai Lama denies the charges, and says he only wants autonomy for Tibet.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters
Press Statement by Kalon Tripa on Xinhua report of China's wishing to meet H.H. the Dalai Lama's envoys
|Tibetgov.net[Friday, April 25, 2008 20:33]|
|We have seen the Xinhua report of April 25, 2008 of the Chinese government wishing to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama's envoys. His Holiness the Dalai Lama for a long time, especially since 10 March of this year, wanted to reach out to the Chinese people and the leadership. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has always wanted to resolve the issue of Tibet through face to face discussions with the Chinese authorities.|
Throughout the present crisis in Tibet, we have maintained contact with the Chinese authorities, not only to share our deepest concerns at their repressive measures to deal with the development in different parts of Tibet, but more importantly to provide suggestions to resolve the crisis. His Holiness even sent a personal communication to President Hu Jintao as early as March 19, 2008 wherein he had even offered to send representatives to help calm the situation. The immediate greatest concern for His Holiness and the Tibetan leadership continues to be the fate of the Tibetans and in this regard His Holiness the Dalai Lama's envoys have been in regular touch with their counterparts, including exploring the possibilities of early meetings, to address this issue.
We feel it will require normalcy in the situation in the Tibetan areas for the formal resumption of the talks and we are committed to take all steps, including informal meetings, to continue in bringing about this. It is our position that for any meeting to be productive it is important for the Chinese leadership to understand the reality and acknowledge the positive role of His Holiness the Dalai Lama rather than indulging in vilification campaign that is even contained in the same Xinhua report.
Dated: April 25, 2008
Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche
Central Tibetan Adminsitration
Tel: +91 1892 222218/ 222713/223546
Fax: +91 1892 224914