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Tibetans seek signs of hope in China's next leader

Published on Sep 26, 2012 3:56 PM

DHARAMSHALA, India (AFP) - In their long and fruitless struggle against Chinese rule, Tibetans have often leapt on any reason to stay optimistic - and, for some, a new leader in Beijing offers a fresh glimmer of hope.

The rise of Mr Xi Jinping, who is seen as China's president-in-waiting, has set off a ripple of speculation that he may bring about a change of policy towards Tibet, which has been subject to a military crackdown since 2008.

One is that Mr Xi's father, Xi Zhongxun, met and came to know the Dalai Lama in Beijing in the early 1950s, before the Tibetan spiritual leader fled a failed uprising.

The senior Xi, a party official at the time, later became a liberal vice premier known to be sympathetic towards minorities, and Tibetan exiles and analysts raise the possibility that such thinking may have passed down a generation.

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