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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?"

Lithuanian MPs meet Dalai Lama, establish Tibet friendship group

September 25, 2017

The Baltic Course, September 25, 2017 - "I believe we can all help here by simple contribution, belief or establishment of a Seimas group that would be intended for friendship with Tibet. We will definitely initiate this," conservative MP Monika Navickiene told BNS on Monday.

The meeting with the Dalai Lama, a leader who resides in India, was also attended by politicians of Latvia and Estonia. Parliaments of these countries include groups for ties with Tibet.

Tibet lost its autonomy from China in 1951 after Beijing brought its army in the territory that had declared independence.

China maintains it then liberated Tibet, however, many local residents accuse the central administration of religious and cultural oppression, often protesting in the for of self-immolation.

Meanwhile, Beijing views the Dalai Lama as separatist who seeks to separate Tibet from China. It does not recognize the Tibetan government operating in exile and does not maintain any dialogue with the Dalai Lama's representatives.

Navickiene, the Lithuanian MP, said the Tibetan leader spoke about the potential for the situation to improve, adding that "the people of Tibet indeed need support now."

Another participant of the meeting, Liberal Movement's MP Arunas Gelunas, emphasized Tibet did not seek political independence from China.

"The Dalai Lama said they did not seek political independence, they do not want to be a separate state, they would do just fine with religious, linguistic and cultural freedom, which is now restricted in a cruel manner," said the politician.

"The words the Dalai Lama said were extremely reminiscent of the feeling when the people of Lithuania were also persecuted for beliefs and language not so long ago," he added.

Decorative street signs in the Lithuanian and Tibetan languages were unveiled in the Tibet Square in Vilnius past summer.

Lithuania views the Tibet region in the Himalaya Mountains as part of China, however, joins the call by the European Union for peaceful regulation of the relations between the Chinese administration and Tibet.

Lithuania fell in China's disfavor after President Dalia Grybauskaite met with Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Vilnius in 2013. Negotiations with China on various issued had stalled until Beijing issued a statement in February of 2015, stating its willingness to develop good ties.

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