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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Prince Charles to hold private meeting with Chinese president

April 1, 2009

The Prince of Wales is to hold a private meeting
with a Chinese president in the UK for the first time, it has been announced.
The Telegraph (UK)
March 31, 2009

The heir to the throne -- who once described
China's leaders as "appalling old waxworks" --
will meet President Hu Jintao at the Mandarin
Oriental Hotel in London on Thursday.

The historic move will be seen as an important
step in the Prince's previously uneasy relations
with China and part of the general thawing of his dealings with the republic.

The meeting raises the likelihood of the future
King undertaking his first official visit to the country.

The Prince has never been to mainland China --
only to Hong Kong for the handover ceremony in 1997.

In his leaked diary, he wrote that the senior
Chinese officials attending were "appalling old waxworks".

In 1999, he was accused of boycotting a Chinese
state visit to the UK by failing to attend the
return banquet held for the then-President Jiang Zemin.

During Mr Hu's state visit in 2005, the Prince
carefully sidestepped the issue by being out of
the country on a tour of the US on the night of the official dinner.

But he did not meet Mr Hu on the remaining two days of his visit.

The Prince is also a long time admirer of the
exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama,
who he has meet on several occasions.

It is more than likely the Prince will take the
opportunity to broach the subject of China's poor
human rights record with President Hu, who is in London for the G20 summit.

Campaigners continue to criticise China for
executing hundreds of people every year and for failing to stop torture.

A Clarence House spokesman said: "The Prince is
trying to engage with China through his
charities. He will discuss a wide range of issues."

Last year it was announced that The Prince's
Foundation for the Built Environment was trying
to preserve Beijing's Hutongs – traditional lanes
of houses – in the Da Shi Lan district near Tiananmen Square.

In February 2008, the Prince met senior Chinese
politician State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan at Clarence House.

President Hu was elected President of The
People's Republic of China in 2003, and re-elected in March last year.

His visit to London is set to attract protests
with Free Tibet planning a G20 demonstration
tomorrow outside the Mandarin Oriental, where he is staying.

This spring marks the 50th anniversary of the
Tibetan Uprising of 1959, when more than 86,000
Tibetans were killed by Chinese troops. Today is
also the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama crossing into India.
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