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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Tibet 'sensitive' issue for Chinese

November 1, 2007

London Free Press, Canada
October 31, 2007
       

TORONTO -- With shock waves from China's angry outburst still reverberating, a serene Dalai Lama arrived yesterday in Toronto, insisting that he is non-political,
while acknowledging head-on the international political upheaval his visit to Canada has caused.

The Tibetan spiritual leader, who is to give a major public address today to thousands of Buddhist faithful, called the Tibet issue "very sensitive" and said China has good
reason to be "suspicious."

"I usually describe myself as a free spokesman for Tibetan people. I'm not acting like, 'Yes, Minister,' " he said. "Tibetans, in their own land, are physically controlled
fully by gun -- but mind, never!"

The Dalai Lama accused Beijing of painting a rosy picture of modern-day Tibet, which China has occupied for more than 50 years.

Inside Tibet, he said, there is tension, resentment and fear -- "not only in Tibet, but also in China proper."

As a result, he said, the Tibetan issue is "very thorny" for the Chinese.

That sensitivity was clearly on display Monday when the Beijing government harshly criticized Prime Minister Stephen Harper for receiving the 72-year-old Dalai Lama
on Parliament Hill.

While the Dalai Lama has visited Canada half a dozen times, he had never met the prime minister at a government office.

Monday's 40-minute meeting prompted China to condemn Canada for "disgusting conduct" and "gross interference" in internal Chinese affairs.

The meeting, China railed, had "seriously hurt" the feeling of the Chinese people as well as Sino-Canadian relations.

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