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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?"

India joins calls for Tibet dialogue, more protests

March 17, 2008

By Alistair Scrutton

NEW DELHI Sun Mar 16, 2008 (Reuters) - India joined a chorus of calls
for dialogue on Sunday after pro-independence protests in Tibet spilled
over into street violence, while Japan urged Beijing to consider the
implications on the Olympic Games.

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, said that the
international community had the "moral responsibility" to remind China
to be a good host for the Olympic Games, but added that China deserved
to host the Games in August.

China has declared a "people's war" of security and propaganda against
support for the Dalai Lama underlining that it will not heed calls from
around the globe for a lenient response to the riots.

Tibet's capital Lhasa was locked down on Sunday, two days after at least
10 people were killed in violent street protests. The contested region's
government-in-exile said had killed 80 people.

The convulsion of Tibetan anger at the Chinese presence in the region
came after days of peaceful protests by monks and was a sharp blow to
Beijing's preparations for the Olympic Games in August, when China wants
to showcase prosperity and unity.

Calling for calm, Japan's Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said: "I ask
that the Chinese government give thorough consideration (to this) so
that the Olympics will not be affected."

South Korea's Yonhap news agency said in an editorial that "China's
tough response with power is against the Olympics spirit to promote
world peace".

A spokesman for India's Ministry of External Affairs was quoted as
saying in the Hindustan Times that reports of the "unsettled situation
and violence in Lhasa, and by the deaths of innocent people" were

"We hope that all those involved will work to improve the situation and
remove the causes of such trouble in Tibet, which is an autonomous
region of China, through dialogue and non-violent means," Navtej Sarna said.

Indian police this week arrested Tibetan protesters trying to march to
the Chinese border.

New Delhi is treading a delicate balance with its giant neighbor with
whom it is trying to expand diplomatic and trade ties after decades of
rivalry that included a brief war in 1962.

A major irritant is that India plays host to the Dalai Lama in the
Indian city of Dharamsala, where the self-proclaimed Tibetan
government-in-exile is based and scene of daily protests in the past week.


In Dharamsala's main Buddhist temple on Sunday, about 1,500 people
gathered, including many monks, to listen to speeches from exiled
Tibetan leaders.

Chinese flags were laid out on the main road to the temple, forcing cars
and lorries to drive over them. They were quickly covered in muddy
footprints and tire tracks.

"We are showing solidarity with people inside Tibet. We are the last
hope for the people inside," said Sonam Dorjee, a protester leading a
hunger strike near the Dalai Lama's house.

There have been daily pro-Tibet protests around the world since last
Monday, the 49th anniversary of an uprising against Chinese rule.

A day after protesters scaled a wall at the Chinese consulate in Sydney,
demonstrators on Sunday threw eggs and hit a vehicle with flagpoles as
it drove into the mission compound in Melbourne, according to
Australia's Associated Press.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged China's government to
show restraint in Tibet and called for dialogue, echoing similar pleas
from Europe and Australia.

"We urge China to respect the fundamental and universally recognized
right of all of its citizens to peacefully express their political and
religious views, and we call on China to release monks and others who
have been detained solely for the peaceful expression of their views,"
Rice added.

(Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in Dharamsala; James Regan in
Sydney; Rhee So-eui in Seoul; Eric Burroughs in Tokyo; Washington
bureau; Writing by Jeremy Laurence; Editing by Jerry Norton and Sami Aboudi)
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