February 16, 2006

Tibet: Start of Talks in Beijing

Representatives of the Tibetan government-in-exile arrived in China Wednesday to resume the talks on Tibet. Meanwhile the Tibetan Youth Congress began an indefinite hunger strike in Turin, Italy, the winter Olympics city
The fifth round of talks between the Chinese authorities and the envoys of exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama started in Beijing even as Tibetan supporters began a hunger strike in Italy.

Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, special envoy of the Dalai Lama, accompanied by senior aide Kelsang Gyaltsen and other representatives of the Tibetan government-in-exile arrived in China Wednesday to resume the talks on Tibet that started in 2002.

Even as the talks began in Beijing, the Tibetan Youth Congress began an indefinite hunger strike in Turin, Italy, where the winter Olympics are being held.

The protestors are asking the Olympic organizers not to hold the games in China till Tibet is freed. Beijing has won the bid to host the Olympics in 2008.

Although the Dalai Lama, the 70-year-old leader revered as the "god-king" by Tibetans, headed for Israel, the envoys received their final instructions from him Monday in India's Bodh Gaya city.

The office of the exiled leader said the Nobel peace laureate was pleased that the present round of talks had resumed.

"For the last four meetings, the envoys have had very candid and serious discussion with their counterparts in the Chinese leadership," a statement issued by the Dalai Lama's office in India said.

Both sides would discuss the issue of greater autonomy of Tibet though Tibet watchers say there have not been any signs of progress.

China occupied Tibet in 1951 and, after a failed revolt, the Dalai Lama fled into exile in India in 1959.

In 1965, China reshuffled the conquered territory, creating the Tibet Autonomous Region (T.A.R.), which is about one-third of the size of the original kingdom.

The Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel peace prize in 1989 for his peaceful movement to free Tibet, has since then given up the demand for freedom. Now the septuagenarian leader is pressing for autonomy for Tibet with freedom to retain its traditional culture and religion.

However communist China, which has declared T.A.R. to be its inalienable part, has been continuing with its crackdown on Buddhist monks and nuns for revering the photograph of the Dalai Lama and refusing to abjure him as their leader.

Source: New Kerala News

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