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China seeks 'positive outcome' from talks

Chinese President Hu Jintao said he was hoping for a "positive outcome" from talks with aides of the Dalai Lama, as the two parties meet on Sunday for the first time since deadly Tibetan protests in March. FRANCE 24's Henry Morton reports.

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SHENZHEN, China, May 4 (Reuters) - China's president said
he was hoping for "positive results" from talks with envoys of
the Dalai Lama, which opened on Sunday, but state media kept up
a barrage of attacks on Tibet's exiled spiritual leader.


"(I) hope contacts this time will yield positive results,"
China's state news agency Xinhua quoted Hu Jintao as saying.


The fence-mending talks between Chinese officials and the
two aides of the Dalai Lama, the first since an eruption of
Tibetan protests and deadly riots in March, began behind closed
doors in the city of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong.


The unrest, the most serious challenge to Chinese rule in
the mountainous region for nearly two decades, prompted
anti-China protests around the world that disrupted the
international leg of the Olympic torch relay and led to calls
for Western leaders to boycott August's Beijing Games.


"When determining a person's position, we must not only
listen to what he says but also watch his deeds," Hu told a
group of Japanese reporters in Beijing ahead of his Japan
visit.


"The door to dialogue has always been open. We sincerely
hope the Dalai side can show through action that they have
genuinely stopped separatist activities, stopped plots to
incite violence and stopped to sabotage the Beijing Olympics,"
Hu said.


These would "create conditions for the next round of
dialogue", Hu added.


Security was tight outside the Shenzhen state guest house
where the talks were believed to have been held, and reporters
were not allowed into the compound.


"The meeting took place this morning. It will continue
tomorrow and possibly the day after ... We are expecting them
back on the 7th or 8th (of May)," Tenzin Taklha, a senior aide
to the Dalai Lama, told Reuters on Sunday.


"We hope the Chinese are serious about the talks and we are
hopeful that the Chinese are willing to look into the problems
in Tibet."


Xinhua identified the Chinese negotiators as Zhu Weiqun and
Sitar, both vice-ministers of the Communist Party's United
Front Work and responsible for winning over religious leaders
and ethnic minorities.


Lodi Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, the Dalai Lama's
representatives in Washington and Switzerland respectively,
arrived in China on Saturday.


A commentary in the Tibet Daily, mouthpiece of the Tibet
regional government, accused the Dalai Lama of being a "loyal
tool of international anti-Chinese forces" and attempting to
split Tibet from China.


EXPECTATIONS LOW


Some analysts said the repeated condemnations in the run-up
to the talks suggested that China was in no mood to compromise
following the riots in Tibet, which stoked Western criticism of
its rule there.


The India-based Tibetan government-in-exile has said it
"can't have great expectations" from the talks.


There have been six rounds of dialogue between China and
the Dalai Lama's envoys since 2002, with no breakthrough.


China proposed the latest talks last month after Western
governments urged it to open new dialogue with the Dalai Lama,
who says he wants a high level of autonomy, not independence,
for the predominantly Buddhist Himalayan homeland he fled in
1959.


The Dalai Lama also says that he objects to violence and
supports the Beijing Olympics. China says he is insincere.


China says the rioting in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, in March
killed 18 "innocent civilians" and a police officer. It has not
specified how many, if any, protesters have died but says
troops used maximum restraint and avoided using lethal weapons.


Exiled groups say many more Tibetans have died in a
crackdown on rioters. The government-in-exile estimated last
week that 203 Tibetans might have died in the unrest since
March 10.

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