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Dalai Lama to meet (Canadian Prime Minister) Harper this month

October 11, 2007

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2007 | 2:32 PM ET
CBC News

Nobel Peace Prize winner, author and revered spiritualist the Dalai 
Lama has begun a North American tour that will end in Canada and 
could include a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper later this 
month.

The exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader started a series of public talks 
in Ithaca, N.Y., Tuesday. He will make his way through Georgia and 
Indiana before ending the tour with a lecture in Ottawa on Oct. 28, 
and another in Toronto on Oct. 31.

The prime minister is also scheduled to meet with the Dalai Lama at a 
government site, according to a report in the Globe and Mail. The 
intended rendezvous has reportedly met opposition from China.

"We are against the provision of venues by foreign countries to the 
Dalai Lama's secessionist activities and also against foreign 
dignitaries meeting with him," a Chinese official said in a statement 
to the Globe.

China expressed similar frustrations after Germany announced 
Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to meet the Dalai Lama in Berlin 
in September.

St. John's Mayor Andy Wells, who has been invited to meet the Dalai 
Lama in Ottawa, said he will extend a warm welcome to the spiritual 
leader by raising the Tibetan flag when he arrives in Canada.
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Wells pulled a similar move in 1999 just before China's premier 
visited Newfoundland. The Canadian government was forced to apologize 
on his behalf when the Chinese delegation threatened to cancel the 
trip. Wells, however, later received a letter of thanks from the 
Dalai Lama.

Former prime minister Paul Martin was the first Canadian leader to 
meet with the Dalai Lama. The two held a one-hour meeting at the home 
of Ottawa's Roman Catholic archbishop in 2004.

The Dalai Lama, who in 1989 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his 
non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet, was granted 
honorary Canadian citizenship in 2006.

The 72-year-old has been living in northern India since 1959 as the 
leader of Tibet's government-in-exile after Chinese troops took over 
the Himalayan region.

Chinese authorities call the Dalai Lama a separatist and have 
consistently refused to let him return to Tibet.

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