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Envoys for China, Dalai Lama to meet Sunday

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  • NEW: Envoys for the Dalai Lama to meet Sunday with Chinese officials
  • Envoys will convey Dalai Lama's concerns about China's handling of Tibet unrest
  • Meetings will be first since violence broke out in Tibetan regions of China in March
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(CNN) -- Envoys for the Dalai Lama and Chinese leaders are to meet for talks Sunday, a spokesman for the spiritual leader said Saturday.

The representative said the talks will take place in Shenzhen, north of Hong Kong, and will last up to three hours. The location within the city hasn't been made public.

Tenzin Takhla, secretary to the Dalai Lama, told CNN from Dharamsala, India, that the meetings would be brief and that no information would be released until after the envoys return. The Dalai Lama lives in exile in the Indian city.

The meetings will be the first since since violence broke out in the Tibetan regions of China in March.

"During this brief visit, the envoys will take up the urgent issue of the current crisis in the Tibetan areas," said Chhime Chhoekyapa, another secretary to the Dalai Lama.

"They will convey His Holiness the Dalai Lama's deep concerns about the Chinese authorities' handling of the situation and also provide suggestions to bring peace to the region."

Special Envoy Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari and Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen will represent the Dalai Lama at the talks.

Pro-independence protests in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa began March 14. While peaceful at first, the protests descended into violence with demonstrators burning and looting stores.

Beijing blamed followers of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, and said 18 civilians and one police officer was killed.

Tibetan exile groups said many times that number died in the violence and the subsequent crackdown.

China has periodically invited representatives of the Dalai Lama to meetings, but no meetings have taken place since last July. With the outbreak in violence and the resulting crackdown, Beijing has been under intense international pressure to re-open its dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

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When the talks were announced last week, China said it would resume meetings with representatives of the Dalai Lama in hopes the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader would use his influence to stop anti-Chinese protests that threaten to disrupt the Olympics, China's official Xinhua news agency reported.

The international torch relay ahead of the Olympics in Beijing was dogged along the way by protesters supporting the Free Tibet Movement. The remainder of the relay will take place within China and its territories and was in Macau on Saturday. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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