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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."

Dalai Lama in Line for Paris Honour, says his Office

May 4, 2009

May 2, 2009

PARIS (AFP) -- The Dalai Lama may be made an
honorary citizen of Paris next month, a spokesman
for the Tibetan spiritual leader said Saturday,
raising the prospect of further tension between China and France.

The Dalai Lama was due to visit France from June
6 to 8, said Wangpo Bashi, general secretary of his Paris office.

"It is very possible that he will receive the
title of honorary citizen of the city of Paris
from the mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, but no meeting
with the leaders of the government is scheduled," he added.

Delanoe's decision in April 2008 to give the
award to the Dalai Lama provoked a sharp response from China.

And when French President Nicolas Sarkozy met the
exiled leader in Poland in December 2008, China
suspended a summit with the European Union that
would have been hosted by France, who held the rotating presidency at the time.

China opposes any government figure meeting the
Dalai Lama, whom it accuses of being intent on
achieving independence for Tibet after 58 years of Chinese rule.

The Dalai Lama however says he only wants autonomy for the Himalayan region.

Last month, China announced it would send a trade
and investment team to France, after having left
them out of a European tour in February which
took in Britain, Germany, Spain and Switzerland.

The Dalai Lama's visit to France was part of a
European tour that will also include Denmark,
Iceland and the Netherlands, said Bashi.

Despite a letter of protest from the Chinese
ambassador, the Dutch parliament has already
announced that its deputies will receive him there.
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