By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, June 3: China on Thursday officially confirmed that a senior Communist Party official had met envoys of the Dalai Lama.
The Chinese state news agency Xinhua said Du Qinglin, head of the Party's United Front Work Department, which deals with ethnic minorities and religious groups, had "met with private representatives of the 14th Dalai Lama here recently".
Du, also vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), told the two representatives Lodi Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen at the meeting that the central government's policy towards the Dalai Lama is consistent and explicit and the door of dialogue is always open, the report quoted a statement issued by the department as saying.
The report also quoted Du as calling on the Tibetan exiled leader the Dalai Lama “not to support any argument and activity to seek ‘Tibet independence’” and split Tibet from the China, he said.
Xinhua’s report did not give any more details of the talks, which were believed to have concluded yesterday in Beijing.
Earlier on Monday, the Office of the Dalai Lama based in Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-exile, issued a statement that the two sides would hold a two-day formal round of talks in Beijing on July 1 and 2.
The Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-exile say they are sincere in their middle path approach for “real and genuine autonomy” for Tibet that includes its three traditional provinces. They insist that their approach for genuine autonomy has been persistent since 1970s when Deng Xiaoping, the then Chinese leader, had said that anything except independence could be negotiated.
Although the past negotiations since 2002 didn't bear any concrete result, Tibetan leaders have said they were hopeful that the latest seventh round of talk would yield some positive result.