I found Rowan Callick’s report in today’s Australian very interesting.
CHINA last night moved to reopen talks with the Dalai Lama in an effort to prevent the Olympic Games from being engulfed in controversy over its stance on Tibet.
The official Xinhua news agency said Beijing would start negotiations with a personal representative of the exiled Tibetan leader “in the coming days”.
It said the first talks in almost a year followed repeated requests “made by the Dalai side for resuming talks”.
But the approach also follows the transformation of the “journey of harmony” – as the international Olympic torch relay is known – into a war of words and frequent violence between Chinese nationalists and supporters of the Dalai Lama.
The Australian leg of the torch relay in Canberra on Thursday was marred by scuffles between Chinese and Tibetan supporters, leading to seven arrests.
Tenzin Takla, a spokesman for the 72-year-old Dalai Lama, last night welcomed the offer as “a step in the right direction”. He said the issue could only be resolved by face-to-face meetings.
Within China, the reaction to international criticism over Tibet has sparked a nationalist surge, heightening anxiety over the impact on the Olympics, which start in Beijing in just 15 weeks.
International leaders, including Kevin Rudd during his trip to China this month, have urged Beijing to return to the negotiating table with the Dalai Lama, who has said that he seeks only autonomy, not independence, for Tibet, and that he does not want to disrupt the Olympics…
Callick goes on to quote Liu Xiaobo: