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Dalai Lama's envoys begin talks with China

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  • NEW: Envoys for the Dalai Lama begin meetings on Sunday with Chinese leaders
  • Envoys will convey Dalai Lama's concerns about China's handling of Tibet unrest
  • Meetings will be first since violence broke out in Tibetan regions of China in March
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(CNN) -- Envoys for the Dalai Lama began a series of meetings Sunday with Chinese leaders, the first time the two sides have come together since violence broke out in the Tibetan regions of China in March.

The talks began Sunday morning, said Tenzin Takhla, the secretary to the Dalai Lama, from the northern Indian city of Dharamsala. Later in the week, the two sides will carry out further meetings, he said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao told Japanese reporters Sunday that he hopes the talks yield positive results.

"I am confident that through joint efforts by both sides, this visit will be able to achieve the expected results," Hu said, according to a report by Japan's Kyodo News agency.

When the talks were announced last week, China said it hoped the Dalai Lama would use his influence to stop anti-Chinese protests that threaten to disrupt the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

Protesters supporting the Free Tibet Movement dogged the torch relay ahead of the Olympics as it made its way around the world. The rest of the relay will take place within mainland China and its territories. The torch reached the mainland from Macau on Saturday night.

The talks between the envoys are taking place in Shenzhen, north of Hong Kong. The location within the city hasn't been made public.

"During this brief visit, the envoys will take up the urgent issue of the current crisis in the Tibetan areas," Chhime Chhoekyapa, a secretary to the Dalai Lama, said earlier.

"They will convey His Holiness the Dalai Lama's deep concerns about the Chinese authorities' handling of the situation and also provide suggestions to bring peace to the region."

China has periodically invited representatives of the Dalai Lama to meetings, but none have taken place since last July.

The March protests -- initiated by Buddhist monks -- began on the anniversary of the failed 1959 Tibetan uprising against Beijing rule, which sent the Dalai Lama into exile in northern India.

The pro-democracy protests began peacefully March 14 in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, but turned violent as protesters set fire to vehicles and shops, tear gas filled and streets and gunfire rang out, according to witnesses, human rights groups and the Chinese state-run news agency, Xinhua.

Beijing blamed followers of the exiled Buddhist spiritual leader, and said 18 civilians and one police officer were killed.


Tibetan groups said many times that number died in the violence and subsequent crackdown.

In the wake of the violence, Beijing has been under intense international pressure to re-open its dialogue with the Dalai Lama. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About TibetDalai LamaChinaHu JintaoSummer Olympics

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