Dalai Lama: China talks 'critical'

Both sides silent on content of first meetings after March riots.

    Pro-Tibet supporters say Chinese migration to the area is destroying Tibetan way of life [AFP]

    The latest talks come after an informal round of discussions held on May 4 in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

    The formal talks, launched in 2002, broke off last year.

    But as the authorities in Beijing remain tight-lipped about the talks, the head of the Chinese communist party in Tibet delivered an attack on the Dalai Lama on Wednesday.

    The state-run Tibet Daily newspaper quoted Zhang Qingli as saying that supporters of the Dalai Lama were behind the violence that began with deadly rioting in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital on March 14.

    'Organised violence'

    "The March 14 incident was a seriously violent criminal incident by the Dalai clique. The organised and orchestrated incident was created by Tibetan separatists after long-term preparation, with the support and instigation of Western hostile forces," he said.

    Zhang also said the violence was timed for the run-up to next month's Olympics in Beijing.

    Beijing has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama of fomenting unrest in the Himalayan region.

    The unrest spread to neighbouring Tibetan-populated areas of western China, and sparked global protests that marred the month-long international journey of the Olympic torch.

    On Tuesday, Nepalese police said they detained a group of 42 Tibetan protesters close to Nepal's border with Tibet as they tried to march back to their homeland.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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