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Tibet, China officials to meet for first time in 15 months

Beijing/Washington, Jan 26 (Calcutta Tube) Envoys of the Dalai Lama travelled to Beijing Tuesday for a meeting with Chinese government officials, the first since a November 2008 round of talks ended in mutual recrimination.

The precise venue for the talks, scheduled to last several days, was still undecided Tuesday. The arrival of the Tibetan spiritual leader’s representatives was picked up by international news agencies but not mentioned in Chinese state media.

Previous talks ended when Beijing rejected a memorandum compiled by Tibetan delegates Lodi Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen spelling out a comprehensive concept for wide-ranging autonomy. That proposal had been requested by Beijing in a previous round of talks in 2008.

The US government welcomed the talks and said it ‘hopes this meeting will produce positive results and provide a foundation for future discussions to resolve outstanding issues’, the State Department said.

Tibet activists regarded the talks as a sign that both sides valued continuing their dialogue.

‘Given the context of the continuing repression in Tibet and an overall backsliding from the Chinese government on human rights, we hope that this time, there will be an indication that the Chinese side is interested in engaging in a results-based dialogue,’ said Mary Beth Markey of the International Campaign for Tibet.

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