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Dalai Dialog: A Hope, A Wing, A Prayer And Four Flags
Meanwhile it's been announced that a special envoy of George W. Bush will meet with the Dalai Lama next week. At a news conference, State Department spokesman Tom Casey said that Under Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky, the government's special envoy for Tibet, "is going to be meeting with the Dalai Lama in Michigan on April 21st."
"They're going to be talking about our view that the Chinese authorities ought to engage in a discussion with the Dalai Lama. We'll be interested in hearing his views on the situation there," said Casey.
As international pressure mounts, this latest move has upset Chinese officials. "We believe that the Tibetan affairs are internal affairs of China, and (are) strongly opposed to external interference in this respect," said Wang Baodong, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, in a statement released to the AFP news service.
"We always demand that the US administration and US officials adhere to their commitment to recognizing Tibet as part of China, not supporting Tibetan independence, and refrain from holding any contact with the Dalai Lama and his clique," he said.
The Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India, is between a rock and a hard place. The Chinese government has accused him of "scheming and instigating violence," despite lack of evidence to support the accusation, and the Tibetan leader's numerous pleases for peaceful protest. Meanwhile, many of his followers are frustrated by the lack of progress and are calling for a more proactive approach. To complicate matters further, one of the conditions of residence for the Dalai Lama and his followers living in exile in India, is that they must not protest against the Chinese government on Indian soil.
When asked at Sunday's new conference in Seattle if the Tibetans would make concessions in order to secure talks with China, the Dalai Lama said that they had little to concede. "We've become refugees."
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