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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 'not an ethnic or religious issue': China

March 13, 2008

Press Trust of India

Beijing, March 12, (PTI): Asserting that Tibet was not an ethnic or
religious issue, China on Wednesday asked the international community
to see through Dalai Lama's ''attempt to split'' the country and
decried attempts to link the 2008 Beijing Olympics with the Communist
nation's human rights.

''More and more countries in Europe have recognised that this issue
concerns China's sovereignty and territorial integrity,'' Foreign
Minister Yang Jiechi told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing
annual session of China's parliament, the National People's Congress
(NPC).

Yang, who was asked about the Dalai Lama in the context of
Sino-European relations, said the German government had recently
explicitly stated that it recognised Tibet as part of China and that
it did not support or encourage any attempt to seek Tibetan
independence.

''We hope more and more countries will move in this direction and more
and more people will see through the Dalai Lama's attempt to split
China,'' Yang said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had earned the wrath of China after
she met the Dalai Lama last year.

China had on Tuesday dismissed the Dalai Lama's charge of religious
repression and ''unimaginable and gross'' violation of human rights in
Tibet leveled against Beijing and also flayed attempts to link the
2008 Beijing Olympics with Tibet.

The Dalai Lama had criticised China in a speech to mark the 49th
anniversary of ''Tibet Uprising Day'' at Dharamsala, the seat of
Tibetan government in exile, before hundreds of Tibetans began a march
to Tibet to protest against China hosting the Olympics.

The Dalai fled from Tibet to India following a failed armed uprising
against Chinese rule in his Himalayan homeland.

Yang also hit out at critics of China's human rights record, accusing
them of double standards.
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