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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?"

China calls off meeting with German officials as Dalai Lama visit looms

September 24, 2007

Canadian Press
September 23, 2007

BERLIN - Beijing has called off a meeting between Chinese and German
officials that was planned for Sunday, the day the Dalai Lama is to meet
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, an official said.

China cancelled the meeting in Munich, which was part of a bilateral
dialogue on legal issues and was to include German Justice Minister
Brigitte Zypries, citing "technical reasons," a spokeswoman for Zypries'
ministry said Saturday on customary condition of anonymity.

The cancellation was received Friday; the Dalai Lama's planned meeting
with Merkel at the chancellery was not mentioned.

German officials have characterized the meeting as a private encounter
with a religious leader, but Beijing has criticized the exiled Tibetan
spiritual leader's visit.

On Thursday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the visit was intended to
further what Beijing alleges is an agenda to seek independence for the
Himalayan region. It argued that the Dalai Lama was using religion to
further his political agenda.

Sunday's meeting will be the first time that the Dalai Lama has been
received at the German chancellery. On Thursday, Chancellor Alfred
Gusenbauer of neighbouring Austria received him at the chancellery in

China routinely criticizes visits abroad by the Dalai Lama, who fled
Tibet for India in 1959 during a failed uprising against Chinese rule.
The winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize remains popular among Tibetans
and widely respected abroad, despite efforts to undermine him by Chinese

China claims Tibet has been its territory for centuries, but many
Tibetans say they were effectively independent for most of that period.

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