Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, welcomed Saturday the Chinese
government's call for talks but only if it was serious about engaging in
The Dalai Lama was speaking to reporters at New Delhi airport on his return from a tour of the United States, his secretary Tenzin Takhla said. The Tibetan leader lives in exile in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala.
China's state-run news agency Xinhua had reported Friday that the Chinese government was ready to begin a dialogue with the Dalai Lama's representatives within days.
"The Dalai Lama has always been ready for talks. But he feels there is no point in a dialogue, if it has no substance and is just an attempt by the Chinese government to put on a show for the outside world," Takhla said.
The Dalai Lama's office had received no intimation yet from Chinese officials inviting them for a dialogue, he said.
Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of the Tibetan government-in- exile, also based in Dharamsala, had said in a statement Friday that Tibetan leaders felt normalcy had to return to Tibetan areas before talks could resume.
"We feel it will require normalcy in the situation in the Tibetan areas for the formal resumption of the talks and we are committed to take all steps, including informal meetings, to continue bringing about this," he said in a statement.
Takhla said the Dalai Lama or the Tibetan government in exile had not outlines any prerequisites for proposed talks.
"His holiness is concerned about the ongoing repression in Tibet. Arbitrary arrests are happening every day and it is a cause of concern," he said. "We have to ensure that the atmosphere is conducive for talks."
The Tibetan government-in-exile claims the Chinese government has exercised severe repression in Tibet and has restricted free movement of Tibetans and was carrying out arbitrary arrests in the wake of unrest which began on March 10.
The violence left 19 people dead, according to the Chinese government. The Tibetan government-in-exile claims at least 140 people were killed, most of them Tibetans shot by Chinese police.
The Dalai Lama says he wants greater autonomy for Tibet within China. The Chinese government has engaged in six rounds of dialogue with representatives of the Dalai Lama since 2002, but without progress. The last round was held in June 2007.