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Dalai Lama's envoys to leave for China by month end

October 26, 2008

Times of India
October 24, 2008

DHARAMSALA -- Two envoys of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama
will leave for China later this month for the eighth round of talks
with the Chinese leadership, one of his aides said.

"Special envoys Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, who
participated in the last round of talks in China, will meet Chinese
leaders again this month to continue the dialogue process," Tenzin
Taklha, joint secretary at Dalai Lama's office, said.

The parleys that resumed in September 2002 have been aimed at
allowing more autonomy for the Buddhist region in Tibet but so far no
major breakthrough has been achieved.

Taklha, however, did not reveal the exact dates of the envoys' departure.

"We are not revealing the dates of the departure of the envoys and
the date and place of the meeting. But, they (the envoys) will reach
China by October-end," he said.

The eighth round of negotiations are important as during the last
meeting in July, the Chinese were preoccupied with the Beijing Olympics.

Gyari had said that "in the course of our discussion (seventh round),
we were compelled to candidly convey to our counterparts that in the
absence of serious and sincere commitment on their part, the
continuation of the present dialogue process would serve no purpose".

This would be the third meeting between the two sides since a March
crackdown on protesters in Tibet.

But political observers here pointed out that China "still believes
that it's willing to talk to the Dalai Lama about his future but not
that of Tibet and it is the real guardian of Tibet's culture".

However, the Tibetan government-in-exile has clarified a number of
times that "the issue of Tibet concerns the future of six million
Tibetans there and not just the exiled spiritual leader".

The Dalai Lama has been following a "middle-path" policy that demands
"greater autonomy" for Tibetans, rather than complete independence.

But many radicals, particularly the youth, still believe that Tibet
was an independent nation before Communist troops invaded in 1950.

The Nobel laureate, along with many of his supporters, fled Tibet and
took refuge in this Indian hill station in 1959. The Dalai Lama has
ever since been heading the Tibetan government-in-exile from here.
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