The Chinese government allowed official representatives of the Dalai Lama to visit Tibet this week, for the first time since 1985. The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, has lived in exile since 1959, when he fled the region after a failed uprising against Chinese rule. Beijing has long demanded that the lama renounce support for Tibetan independence before it will negotiate with him. But in the past year, the government has subtly softened its stance. This weeks visit by two envoys could herald a breakthroughthough nobody wants to jinx it by declaring it one. Its a sensitive visit, said Tenzin Taklha, a top aide to the lama. We dont want to say anything yet that might upset the balance.