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China: Dalai Lama must prove he does not support disrupting the Beijing Olympics

July 4, 2008

Canadian Press (CP)
June 3, 2008

BEIJING -- China says the Dalai Lama must prove he does not support
outright independence for Tibet or the disruption of the Beijing
Olympics if autonomy talks are to continue.

China's state media says top Chinese officials made those demands in
two days of negotiations with representatives of the Dalai Lama that
ended Wednesday.

The account indicates the meetings did little to change in Beijing's
position toward the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

China has accused the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and his
supporters of fomenting anti-government protests that rocked Tibet
and other Tibetan-inhabited areas of China in March.

The accusations have been rejected by the self-proclaimed Tibetan

It insisted Thursday that the Dalai Lama has been "tireless" in
expressing his commitment to non-violence.

"He has also gone out of his way to publicly announce his support for
the Beijing Olympics," added Thupten Samphal, a spokesman for the
exile government based in Dharmsala, India.

"He has even said that he would like to attend the opening ceremony
of the Olympics to show his support."

The talks are important to China's hopes of hosting a flawless
Olympic Games. Some experts believe Beijing agreed to the talks to
ease criticism that it was too heavy-handed in its response to the
March violence.

China says 22 people died in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, while
foreign Tibet supporters say many times that number were killed in
the demonstrations and a subsequent government crackdown.

Some world leaders have said they might boycott the opening ceremony
of next month's Olympics to protest China's handling of the unrest.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said this week he would attend if
the latest talks made progress.

Xinhua news agency reported Thursday that Du Qinglin, head of the
United Front Work Department, met with the Tibetan envoys and said
the Dalai Lama should "openly and explicitly" promise and prove
through his actions that he does not support disruptions of the
Beijing Olympics, nor plots to incite violence.

The Dalai Lama also must not support any effort to seek independence
for Tibet, Du was quoted as saying by Xinhua, which cited a report
from the United Front Work Department.

The department is designed to negotiate with influential people in
groups outside of China's Communist party.

Du told envoys Lodi Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen that the door of
dialogue is always open, Xinhua reported. Two vice-ministers of the
United Front Work Department, Zhu Weiqun and Sita, also said there
could be further meetings before the end of this year if the Dalai
Lama's side takes positive actions. No other details were given.

The Xinhua report was the first time China has acknowledged meeting
the Tibetan envoys for the latest round of talks. The Tibetan exile
government has said the talks ended Wednesday in Beijing, but said it
would not comment on the discussions until after the envoys briefed
the Dalai Lama.

"That Xinhua has formally acknowledged the meeting between the Dalai
Lama's envoys and the Chinese officials is a positive step," Samphal said.

The meetings this week follow informal talks held in early May in the
southern Chinese city of Shenzhen that ended with an offer from
Beijing for future discussions.

China has governed Tibet since communist troops marched into the
Himalayan region in the 1950s. The Dalai Lama, who fled to India amid
a failed uprising in 1959, has said he wants some form of autonomy
that would allow Tibetans to freely practise their culture, language
and religion.
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