CHINESE OFFICIALS READY FOR MORE TALKS ON TIBET: ENVOY


2003-06-12
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WASHINGTON, June 12, 2003--Chinese officials were "open and candid" and appeared ready to move forward in just-concluded talks with four special envoys of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, special envoy Lodi Gyari told Radio Free Asia (RFA).

Gyari also said the Dalai Lama continues to hope for a visit to the Tibetan Autonomous Region, under Chinese control since the 1950s. �We saw very clearly that the Chinese officials were open and candid in the discussions,� Gyari told RFA's Tibetan service. �They recognize that Sino-Tibetan relations have faced several problems in the past and that our differences on the current issues are real."

"From the way the Chinese leaders are thinking, and their expressions and gestures, we got the impression that we can move forward. Many new members have joined the leadership ranks," he said in an interview.

Gyari was optimistic about a possible future visit by the Dalai Lama to Tibet. �It was made clear by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on several occasions his intention to visit Wutai Shan in Shanxi Province, which he could not visit in the 1950s. If Sino-Tibetan relations improve, there will be a time for His Holiness to visit these holy places,� he said.

Gyari led a four-member delegation to China on May 25. They returned to New Delhi on June 9. They visited Beijing and Shanghai, as well as Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Yunnan provinces and parts of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. In September last year, the Dalai Lama's envoys visited China in the first direct contact between them since 1993.

Experts view these renewed contacts between China and the Dalai Lama's representatives as indicating a slight softening in Beijing's position and a possible first step toward an eventual political solution.

Tibetans in exile have been running a government in Dharamsala ever since they fled with the Dalai Lama in 1959 following a failed uprising against Chinese rule. The Dalai Lama seeks greater autonomy for the Himalayan region. Chinese troops invaded and annexed Tibet in 1950.

RFA broadcasts news and information to Asian listeners who lack regular access to full and balanced reporting in their domestic media. Through its broadcasts and call-in programs, RFA aims to fill a critical gap in the lives of people across Asia. Created by Congress in 1994 and incorporated in 1996, RFA currently broadcasts in Burmese, Cantonese, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Mandarin, the Wu dialect, Vietnamese, Tibetan (Uke, Amdo, and Kham), and Uyghur. It adheres to the highest standards of journalism and aims to exemplify accuracy, balance, and fairness in its editorial content. #####

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