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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

China criticizes McCain-Dalai Lama meeting

July 29, 2008

The Associated Press
July 28, 2008

BEIJING (AP) -- China said Monday it was concerned about a meeting
between Republican presidential candidate John McCain and the Dalai
Lama, saying Americans should realize the exiled Tibetan spiritual
leader is trying to split the country.

McCain and the Dalai Lama met for 45 minutes Friday in Colorado. The
presumptive Republican nominee called on China to release Tibetan
prisoners and account for any people who disappeared during an
uprising earlier this year in Tibet and surrounding areas.

Tibet is an internal affair and China opposes anyone using the Dalai
Lama to interfere in the internal affairs of the country, Foreign
Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a notice posted on the
ministry's Web site on Monday.

"We urge relevant Americans to conform to the basic standard of
international relations and realize the fact that the Dalai is trying
to split China and undermine the social order of Tibet and the ethnic
unity under the cover of religion," Liu said.

In his meeting with the exiled spiritual leader, McCain said the
Olympic Games starting on Aug. 8 provide a good opportunity for China
to demonstrate that it recognizes human rights. He also said the
Dalai Lama is merely seeking basic rights to preserve Tibetan
culture, language and religion.

The Dalai Lama praised McCain for his concern, but emphasized he
wasn't endorsing McCain's presidential bid. The Dalai Lama was in
Aspen for a symposium on Tibet at The Aspen Institute.

Deadly rioting in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa began on March 14 and
quickly spread. The Chinese government has been accused of using
heavy-handed tactics in quelling the anti-government riots. Beijing
says 22 people died in the violence in Lhasa, while foreign Tibet
supporters say many times that number were killed in the protests and
a subsequent government crackdown.

China has governed Tibet since communist troops marched into the
Himalayan region in the 1950s. The Dalai Lama, who fled to India amid
a failed uprising in 1959, has denied seeking independence, saying he
wants some form of autonomy that would allow Tibetans to freely
practice their culture.
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