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Dalai Lama-China mistreating Tibetans during Games

August 18, 2008

August 16, 2008

PARIS, Aug 16 (Reuters) - The Dalai Lama said on Saturday China was
mistreating and torturing civilians in Tibet while the Olympic Games
were going on.

"Unfortunately the Olympic spirit is not being respected at all by
Chinese officials in Tibet," he said in an interview on France's TF1
television, when asked if the tradition of an Olympic truce was being

"There are restrictions on the circulation of information, very
strong censorship," he said.

"Civilians are often arrested, violently tortured to the point where
they die. It's really very, very sad," he said.

The Dalai Lama is on a two-week visit to France, mostly focused on
religious commitments. He has made few political comments but he
criticised China's actions in Tibet at a meeting on Wednesday with
French legislators.

The visit has triggered a domestic row in France, where critics
accuse President Nicolas Sarkozy of caving into Chinese pressure by
declining to meet him.

On Saturday he met Sarkozy's challenger in last year's presidential
election, Segolene Royal, who said she intended to visit Tibet.

Foreign activists have staged a number of protests in Beijing to
highlight what they say is repression of Tibetans in the Himalayan
region but the Dalai Lama has appealed to supporters not to disrupt the Games.

(Reporting by Sophie Louet; writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Jon Boyle)
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