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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?"

Dalai Lama in NY urges Americans to visit Tibet

May 5, 2009

Posted by: Mark Egan
May 3rd, 2009

Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday urged Americans
to visit his homeland to disprove China’s assertion that people are
happy there.

Speaking in Manhattan, the Tibetan Buddhist, who fled his homeland in
1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, said Beijing insists,
“Tibetans are very happy.”

“The Chinese government never admit, never acknowledged there is a
problem,” he said. “So now I think the world community has a
responsibility to show the world there is a problem.

“If the majority of Tibetan people are happy, then our information
becomes wrong, then … we must apologize to the Chinese government,” the
Dalai Lama said to laughs from the audience of 1,500 people.

Noting China cast itself as a liberator of Tibet rather than as a
colonialist, he said, “A liberator should not bring more misery.

“So please, you, non-Tibetans, go there … and then you must show it to
the world,” he said, “I urge you, please go there.”

On April 23, China urged the United States not to let the Dalai Lama,
whom Beijing brands a separatist, visit the country. “We oppose the
Dalai Lama going to any country to engage in splittist activities under
any pretext,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu.

The Dalai Lama’s Sunday event was a conversation with former Irish
President Mary Robinson.

Robinson, also a former United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, called
the lack of progress on human rights in Tibet, “heartbreaking from a
human rights point of view.”

The Dalai Lama replied, “I am happy, I hear also one splittist.”

Beijing calls the Dalai Lama a reactionary who seeks to split off nearly
a quarter of the land mass of the People’s Republic of China. It has
been using its diplomatic clout to try to block the pro-Tibetan message.

The 1989 Nobel Peace laureate denies the charge, saying he seeks greater
rights, including religious freedom, and autonomy for Tibetans.

His week-long trip to the United States included a variety of events in
California, Boston and New York but does not include a meeting with
President Barack Obama.

The Dalai Lama, together with tens of thousands of exiled Tibetans, has
lived in India since he fled Lhasa.
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