Contacts Reported Between Beijing and Dalai Lama

BEIJING, SEPT. 11, 2002 ( Two representatives of the Dalai Lama have had contacts this week in Beijing with government officials, Tibetan sources say.

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The visit to Beijing of Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, envoys of the Tibetan political-religious leader and Nobel Award recipient, is the first official contact since 1993 between representatives of Tibetan Buddhism and the Communist government.

The main problem in relations with the Buddhist leader is Beijing’s insistence that the Dalai Lama recognize Tibet and Taiwan as integral parts of Chinese territory.

Beijing has tried to hamper the Buddhist leader’s movements around Asia. He is exiled in northern India.

Nevertheless, in January, Beijing released several Tibetan political prisoners, including music professor Ngawang Choefel. In March it granted a reprieve for reasons of health to Tanak Jigme Sangpo, 76, who was imprisoned for 19 years.

Beijing also allowed Gyalo Thundup, the Dalai Lama’s eldest brother, to visit Lhasa, where he met with the authorities. The U.S. State Department praised these contacts.

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