China 'to Meet Dalai Lama Aides'

April 25, 2008

Author: Nick Mulvenney

Source: The Independent

Wire Service: Reuters

China is to hold talks with envoys of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism whom it blames for a wave of unrest, state media reported today, as the Olympic flame arrived in Japan.

The move comes after concerted pressure from the West on China to talk to the Dalai Lama.

It also marks a sharp change in tack for Beijing, which has stepped up its vilification of the Dalai Lama since anti-government protests hit Tibet and rippled across ethnic Tibetan parts of China in the past weeks.

"In view of the requests repeatedly made by the Dalai side for resuming talks, the relevant department of the central government will have contact and consultation with the Dalai's private representative in the coming days," the official Xinhua news agency quoted an unnamed official as saying.

A spokesman for the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India, said he had not received any communication from China about a meeting and China's Foreign Ministry said it had no details.