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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?"

UK: 'China ready to talk to Dalai Lama'

March 20, 2008

LONDON, England March 19, 2008 (CNN) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has
pledged he is ready to talk to the Dalai Lama if the Tibetan spiritual
leader renounces violence and demands for Tibetan independence, says UK
prime minister Gordon Brown.

Brown told UK lawmakers Wednesday that in a phone call with Wen Jiabao
Wednesday morning he pressed China to begin talking with the Dalai Lama
-- something the United States and other countries have also pushed for.

"The premier told me that subject to two things the Dalai Lama has
already said," added Brown, "that he does not support the total
independence of Tibet and that he renounces violence that he would be
prepared to enter into dialogue with the Dalai Lama," Brown said.

Tibet, an autonomous province of China, has been plagued by violence
since last week, when monks rallied to mark the 49th anniversary of an
uprising that forced the Dalai Lama to flee into exile. VideoWatch first
independent video of the violence. »

It was not immediately clear from Brown's comments if the Chinese leader
was ready to start a dialogue anytime soon.

For his part the Dalai Lama has repeatedly said he was not calling for
Tibetan independence from China, but wanted "genuine autonomy" to
protect Tibetans cultural heritage

And on Tuesday he renounced the violent protests that have occurred in
Tibet and neighboring provinces, going so far as threatening to resign
as leader of Tibet's government in exile unless it ends.

Tenzin Takhla, a spokesman for the Dalai Lama later clarified that he
was referring to his political role as Tibetan leader-in-exile, rather
than his spiritual role, AP said.

However, Wen on Sunday called the Dalai Lama's renunciations "nothing
but lies."

The Dalai Lama, who won the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, responded Tuesday:
"The Chinese prime minister accuses me of all these things I said.
Absolutely not. Prime minister, come here and investigate thoroughly all
our files, or record my speeches. Then the prime minister will know how
much is distorted by local officials."

Zhang Qingli, the Communist Party chief of Tibet, said Wednesday that
"The Dalai is a wolf in monk's robes, a devil with a human face but the
heart of a beast," in comments reported in the Tibet Daily Wednesday,
according to AP, adding that "We are now engaged in a fierce
blood-and-fire battle with the Dalai clique, a life-and-death battle
between us and the enemy."

In Tibet itself China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported Wednesday
that 105 people had turned themselves in to authorities by 11 p.m.
Tuesday (1715 GMT), admitting involvement in the clashes between police
and anti-Chinese protesters in the capital Lhasa.

The number of people killed -- and which side they were on -- in
Friday's clashes remains in dispute. The Tibetan government in exile has
said at least 80 people were killed by Lhasa police, but local
authorities -- and Xinhua -- say only 13 people died.

Authorities had urged those who participated in the protests to turn
themselves in, offering them leniency if they did.

In neighboring Nepal, security forces in the capital Katmandu stopped
Tibetan protestors reaching the U.N. building, AP reported, making at
least 30 arrests.

Earlier in the week security forces used tear gas and batons to break up
demonstrators who want the U.N. to pressure the Chinese government to
"allow demonstrators to exercise their right to freedom of expression
and assembly" and "release all Tibetans who have been arrested or detained."

Tension in Nepal, which tries to maintain friendly relations with much
bigger neighbor China, have increased since the deadly protests in Tibet
began late last week.

On Tuesday 150 Tibetans, including about 100 monks, began a 24-hour
hunger strike in Nepal.

World leaders have also continued to urge restraint. Pope Benedict XVI,
during his weekly address Wednesday, spoke of his "sadness and pain" and
called for talks and understanding between both sides, according to AP.

Earlier in the week Washington encouraged China's leaders to reach out
to the Dalai Lama and urged restraint against protesters.

"We have really urged the Chinese over several years to find a way to
talk with the Dalai Lama, who is a figure of authority, who is not a
separatist, and to find a way to engage him and bring his moral weight
to a more sustainable and better solution of the Tibet issue," Rice said
from Moscow on Monday.
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