Xi Jinping reviews situation in Tibet amid self-immolation protests
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China's new leader Xi Jinping has reviewed the situation in troubled Tibet, amid expectations that the new leadership may consider fresh initiatives to end self-immolation protests in the remote Himalayan region.
Xi, 59, the new General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) who is set to take over as President next week formally ending the decade-long tenure of Hu Jintao, met the Tibetan delegation attending the annual legislature at the National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliament.
While the official media highlighted presentation of letters of 108 monks wishing Xi good luck as he set out for a ten-year term, the meeting the first since he took over as new leader, reportedly discussed political and administrative measures to end the self-immolations which overseas Tibetan groups say are aimed at protesting Chinese rule and call for return of the Dalai Lama from exile in India.
About 106 such immolations have been reported so far.
Chinese authorities launched a crackdown against the people inciting the immolations and blamed the "Tibetan government-in-exile" for orchestrating the suicide campaign.
Ahead of Xi's take over, Dalai Lama has expressed hope that Xi whose reformist father Xi Zhongxun, he knew before fleeing Tibet for self-exile to Dharmasala, would initiate steps to ease the situation in Tibet and its prefectures.
There were back channel talks between the Chinese government and Dalai Lama representatives in the past which were halted for over a year as they made little headway.
Analysts say that there is likelihood that the talks would be resumed later this year.
Last August, Xu Zhitao, an official of the CPC's powerful policy body had said there won't be any negotiations with Dalai Lama representatives at least until the end of the year.
He said in response to Dalai Lama's comments of seeing some encouraging signs about shifting of attitudes of China towards Tibet.