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Last Updated: Monday, 26 May, 2003, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Tibet envoys in Beijing for talks
By Holly Williams
BBC, Beijing

Two envoys of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, have arrived in Beijing on a visit aimed at rebuilding relations between China and Tibet's exiled government.

Negotiations between the two sides broke down in 1993, and have been stuck in a gridlock for nearly a decade.

Potala Palace, Lhasa
The Dalai Lama yearns to return to Lhasa
But there are signs that the frosty standoff might finally be beginning to thaw.

The Dalai Lama says he just wants autonomy for Tibet within China.

But leaders in Beijing accuse him of being a separatist, intent on fighting for an independent Tibet.

It is highly unlikely that the Dalai Lama's envoys will resolve that issue in their talks this week.

But this is the second time that officials from Tibet's exiled government have visited China in the last 12 months, and both sides seem to be making concessions.

China has made a show of releasing Tibetan political prisoners, while the Dalai Lama recently turned down an invitation to Taiwan, the island that Beijing regards as a renegade province.

One place the Dalai Lama would dearly like to visit is Lhasa, the Tibetan capital.

He fled the city in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

The ageing leader, who most Tibetans regards as a living god, has lived in exile in India ever since.

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06 Dec 02  |  Asia-Pacific
Dalai Lama team visits Beijing
10 Sep 02  |  Asia-Pacific

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