Page last updated at 08:52 GMT, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

China in Dalai Lama talks offer

The exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama, leaves hospital in Delhi on 16 October
The normally upbeat Dalai Lama says he has been losing faith in talks

Chinese authorities are to arrange fresh talks with envoys of the Dalai Lama "in the near future", the Chinese state news agency Xinhua has said.

The agency quoted an unnamed government official as saying the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet should "treasure this opportunity" and respond positively.

Last weekend, the Dalai Lama said he was losing hope that dialogue with China would achieve any settlement.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

Anti-China protests that erupted in March in Tibet - the worst in two decades - were crushed by Chinese security forces.

In the aftermath, China promised fresh talks over the disputed territory, but the Dalai Lama recently suggested such gestures were insincere.

'Despite the riot'

Xinhua quoted the government official as saying that Chinese authorities would "arrange another round of contacts and negotiation with the private representatives of the Dalai Lama 'in the near future' at the request of the Dalai Lama side".

The report said such talks would be held "despite the Lhasa riot in March and some serious disruptions and sabotages to the Beijing Olympic Games by a handful of 'Tibet independence' secessionists".

On Tuesday Tibetan officials in exile in India called a special meeting to discuss foundering discussions with China, the Associated Press news agency reported.

At the weekend, the Dalai Lama said his faith in the Chinese government was diminishing - a notably downbeat admission for a man known for his cheerful patience and optimism, according to the BBC's Asia analyst Jill McGivering.

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