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China Agrees to Second Round of Talks with Dalai Lama's Envoys

The Chinese government has agreed to hold a second round of talks with representatives of the Dalai Lama after meetings in the southern city of Shenzhen. Despite the dialogue, China has continued to vilify the Tibetan spiritual leader. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.

Official news media in China say only that talks between Beijing and representatives of the Tibet's spiritual leader will resume, but do not say where or when.

On Sunday, the two sides met in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

Before, during, and after the meeting, state media pumped out reports accusing the Dalai Lama of orchestrating violent riots and attempting to split Tibet from China.

On Monday, state television showed the Beijing-appointed Panchen Lama, Gyaltsen Norbu, attending a government exhibition on Tibet's history and praising Communist party leaders.

He says he prays for the successful holding of the Olympic Games. He says under the leadership of the great Chinese Communist Party, Tibet will definitely become more prosperous, and the lives of Tibetan people will become better and happier.

China's Communist Party appointed Gyaltsen Norbu as Tibet's second-highest ranking Buddhist leader, but many Tibetans refuse to accept his authority and he is rarely seen in public.

The Dalai Lama in 1995 chose a six-year-old boy named Gendun Choekyi Nyima as the Panchen Lama, but Chinese authorities quickly detained him and he has never been seen since.

Human rights groups have called him the youngest political prisoner in the world. Chinese officials say he is leading a normal life and does not want to be bothered.

Tibet has been under China's sphere of influence for centuries but was governed more or less independently until Chinese troops invaded in the 1950s. The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

China says Tibet is historically part of its territory and says the Dalai Lama, who leads a government in exile in India, wants to split the country. The Dalai Lama says he wants autonomy for the region, not independence.

The Dalai Lama's envoys and Chinese officials have met six times since 2000 but with no breakthrough in relations.

China agreed to hold this latest round under pressure from Western leaders for dialogue after recent unrest.

Beijing says the Dalai Lama organized anti-government protests in March, which turned violent, leaving at least 23 people dead. The Nobel Peace Prize winner denies the accusation and exile groups say many more Tibetans were killed in the violence, but none of the figures can be independently confirmed.

China's heavy-handed reaction to the unrest led to international protests against the global Olympic torch relay and calls for a boycott against the Beijing Olympics.