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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 unrest: Dalai Lama willing to meet Chinese president

March 21, 2008

The Times of India
20 Mar 2008

DHARMSALA: The Dalai Lama said on Thursday that he was willing to meet
Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao, as Chinese authorities
acknowledged that anti-government riots in Tibet had spread to other
provinces.

But Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader said he would not travel to Beijing
for talks unless there was "a real concrete development" in relations
between Beijing and Tibet. He did not elaborate.

Chinese officials said they would talk with the Dalai Lama if he
"stopped separatist activities" and recognized Tibet and Taiwan as parts
of China.

The Dalai Lama has long maintained that independence was not his aim.

"The whole world knows Dalai Lama is not seeking independence, one
hundred times, thousand times I have repeated this. It is my mantra. We
are not seeking independence," he told reporters in Dharmsala, the seat
of Tibet's government-in-exile.

The Dalai Lama has said he wants dialogue with China aimed at giving
Tibetans autonomy, but remaining under Beijing rule.

"The Tibet problem must be solved between Tibetan people and Chinese
people," he said.

Chinese officials have accused the Dalai Lama and his supporters of
organizing violent clashes in Tibet in hopes of sabotaging this summer's
Beijing Olympics and promoting Tibetan independence.

"We hope Dalai can understand the trend of the times and do more things
beneficial to the people of Tibet in his life, instead of doing things
on the contrary," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang.

The Dalai Lama has said in the past that he would meet Chinese leaders.
His representatives re-established formal contact formal contact with
China in 2002 after years of silence. They have met six times since,
most recently last June in China.

Tibetan officials in exile say at least 80 people have died in the
violence following protests in Tibet that began March 10 on the
anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising. Chinese officials say 16 people
were killed.

On Thursday, Chinese officials and media said unrest had also taken
place in neighboring provinces in recent days.

The Dalai Lama dismissed the accusations and insults Chinese officials
hurled at him this week, which included the Communist Party boss
labeling him "a devil with a human face but the heart of a beast."

"As a Buddhist monk, it does not matter what they call me," he said.
"The outside world doesn't believe that I am devil," he said.

He appealed to the international community to help the Tibetan people.

"Please think, visit the helpless, unarmed innocent people who simply
love Tibetan culture and are not willing to accept others bullying them.
Now they are facing death. So very sad," he said.

Meanwhile, Indian authorities released 30 protesters on Wednesday who
were arrested last week while attempting to march from Dharmsala to
Tibet, said B. Tsering, one of the organizers of the march.

Roughly 100 protesters remain in Indian custody and are set to be
released by March 27.

A second group of roughly 50 marchers who set off for Tibet after the
arrests continued their march on Thursday without interference from
authorities.

The Dalai Lama has asked them to give up the protest march due to fears
of a confrontation with Chinese border guards. March leaders are
debating how to continue.
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