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Terrorism & Security

China and envoys of the Dalai Lama hold talks about Tibet

Despite an apparent intent to hold further talks before the Beijing Olympics, China continues to criticize the 'Dalai clique.'

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The Dalai Lama has long denied that he is a separatist. But he has pushed for greater autonomy for Tibet and accused China of human rights abuses in his homeland, which he fled in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

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Two decades later, his envoys met Chinese officials for the first time. But talks were suspended in 1994 before being revived in 2002. Still, the mainstream Chinese view is that the Dalai Lama is responsible for provoking ethnic conflict, reported The Christian Science Monitor.

Bloomberg quoted China's president, Hu Jintao, as saying that the Dalai Lama had a hand in the recent Tibetan riots.

"We sincerely hope the Dalai Lama and his supporters will show through concrete actions they have stopped activities of splitting the country, stopped plotting and inciting violent activities and stopped undermining the Beijing Olympics, to create conditions for further consultation," Hu said.

The Chinese media, including People's Daily Online, has been similarly aggressive in its rhetoric.

"Listen to what a person says and watch what he does," as an ancient Chinese saying goes. We hope the Dalai side will put the national interest first, comply with the aspirations of all Chinese people, including those of people of all ethnicities in Tibet and comply with the tide of historical development, and truly halt activities to separate the motherland, stop inciting violent moves and stop activities to disrupt Beijing Olympic Games, so as to create favorable conditions for contact in the next step.

In an opinion piece in the Daily Telegraph, journalist David Eimer said it would be foolish to expect too much of the latest round of talks between China and the Dalai Lama's envoys.

"Those who see the talks as a hopeful sign that China is willing to compromise should look at the confrontational language still being used by officials this weekend to describe the Dalai Lama and his followers.
Such phrases as "Dalai Clique" are a throwback to the Cultural Revolution of the Sixties and Seventies, when the enemies of Mao Tse-tung were the "Anti-Party Clique."
Such language is deployed when China feels threatened. These days, it is accompanied by the aggressive nationalism that has replaced the Maoist mantras once chanted.
President Hu Jintao is not a man to back down in the face of the Dalai Lama. Mr Hu sealed his place as a future president by ordering the bloody crackdown on the last major protests in Tibet in 1989, when in charge of the region.
His successor in 2012 will come from a different generation, one perhaps more prepared to listen. Until then, it is hard to see any change.
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