China to hold formal talks on Tibet: Dalai envoy

Dharamshala, May 8:

A date will soon be set for a seventh round of formal talks between the Dalai Lama’s envoys and China on Tibet, an envoy of the spiritual leader said today.

It follows informal talks on Sunday in Chin’s southern city Shenzhen that were the first known encounter between the two sides since unrest broke out in the Himalayan region in March.

“Despite major differences on important issues, both sides demonstrated a willingness to seek common approaches... each side made some concrete proposals which can be part of the future agenda,” said a release by envoy Lodi Gyari, one of the envoys who met Chinese officials on Sunday.

Gyari said, “The recent crisis in Tibet is a clear symptom of deeply felt grievances and resentment of the Tibetans with these policies.” Sunday’s talks in Shenzhen, just over the border from Hong Kong, took place seven weeks after protests in Lhasa turned deadly, sparking a military crackdown, and three months before the Olympics are to be held.

“There were strong and divergent views on the nature as well as the causes of the recent tragic events in Tibet (during Sunday’s talks). The views were expressed in a frank and candid manner,” the Tibetan envoy said.

China was urged to release Tibetan prisoners and end political re-education during the Shenzen talks, Gyari said.

The Tibetan government-in-exile says 203 Tibetans have been killed and about 1,000 injured in the Chinese crackdown. China denies this, saying that Tibetan “rioters” and “insurgents” killed 21 people.