China has confirmed its officials are meeting with representatives of the Dalai Lama for talks onTibet. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader is seeking more autonomy for Tibet, but Beijing says he really wants independence. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.
China's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday confirmed reports that two envoys of the Dalai Lama are to meet with Chinese officials.The closed-door meetings are the second round of talks since March anti-government protests in Tibet turned violent, prompting Beijing to close off the territory,conduct mass arrests, and restrict movements.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told journalis tsthat Dalai Lama envoys Lodi Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen would meet with Chinese officials, but he gave nodetailed information on which officials they would meetor what specifically would be discussed.
He says regarding the Chinese central government'snegotiations with the Dalai Lama, the top priority isthat the Dalai Lama must implement the "three stops." He says he hopes the talks and contacts are able to make progress.
The so-called "three stops" are calls by Beijing for theDalai Lama to stop alleged separatist activity, stop inciting violence, and stop attempting to disrupt and wreck the Beijing Olympics.
The Dalai Lama says he wants autonomy for Tibet but does not support independence. The Nobel Peace Prize winner has spoken out against violence and says he supports Beijing hosting the Olympic Games.
Beijing says more than 20 people were killed after theMarch protests turned into a riot in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa. Exiled Tibetans say many more Tibetans were killed.
Beijing says in June it released over 1,000 protesters who were initially detained for investigation and has opened Tibet back up to foreign tourists. But, despite the talks with the Dalai Lama's envoys, Chinese officials continue to vilify the exiled Tibetan leader.
China came under rare criticism from the International Olympic Committee last week after a Chinese official criticized the Dalai Lama at the closing ceremony of the Tibet leg of the Olympic torch relay. The IOC said it regretted that political statements were made and urged Beijing's Olympic committee to ensure it does not happen again.