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After 15 months, Dalai Lama’s envoys to hold talks with China

Dharamsala, Jan 25 (Calcutta Tube) Envoys of Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, are headed for China to hold talks – the first time in the last 15 months – between both sides.

The envoys, who left India Monday, will arrive in Beijing Tuesday.

‘The Dalai Lama’s special envoys, Lodi G. Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, will arrive in China tomorrow (Tuesday) for discussions with the representatives of the Chinese leadership. This is the ninth round of dialogue. The envoys are visiting China after a gap of 15 months in the process that began in 2002,’ the Dalai Lama’s secretary Chhime R. Chhoekyapa said Monday in a statement released at the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile here.

The envoys are accompanied by senior assistants Tenzin P. Atisha, Bhuchung K. Tsering, both members of Tibetan Task Force on negotiations, and Jigmey Passang from the secretariat of the Tibetan Task Force.

The last meeting, called the eighth round of talks, was held between both sides October 2008. That meeting was held just after Beijing successfully conducted the Beijing Olympic Games in August 2008.

Several areas in Tibet saw protests by Tibetans March-April 2008 in the run-up to the Olympic Games. China was projecting its arrival on the global scene with the Games but the unrest inside Tibet, which left scores dead and hundreds injured, almost dented the ‘all-smooth’ image projected by the Chinese authorities.

China put an abrupt end to all communication after the October 2008 talks where the Tibetan side submitted a detailed memorandum to the Chinese, detailing the route map for an autonomous Tibet for Tibetan people.

China had immediately rejected the Tibetan memorandum, saying that it was aimed at dividing China. After that, China did not show any inclination for talks, which authorities in China say are nothing more than informal interaction.

Chhoekyapa said that before leaving for China, a two-day meeting of the Tibetan Task Force was held in Dharamsala last week which was chaired by Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister-in-exile), Samdhong Rinpoche.

The Tibetan delegation finalised their preparations for the discussions in Beijing. On Jan 22, the Kalon Tripa and the both envoys briefed the Dalai Lama about the Tibetan agenda for the talks.

The delegation is expected to return to India early February.

Tibet is not recognised by any country as a separate nation. Over 130,000 Tibetans live in exile outside Tibet, over 100,000 of them as refugees in India.

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