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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Dalai Lama praises China for action over earthquake

May 14, 2008

Agence France-Presse (AFP)
May 13, 2008

NEW DELHI (AFP) — The Dalai Lama praised China's authorities Tuesday for their swift response to a devastating earthquake which has left tens of thousands of people dead, trapped or missing.

The Dalai Lama also offered his condolences to the victims of the quake, which struck Monday in China's southwestern Sichuan province, a spokesman for the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said.

"We are full of sympathy for the families bereaved by this great tragedy and we admire the quick response of the Chinese authorities in deploying rescue teams at such short notice to bring out survivors from the rubble," spokesman Thubten Samphel said.

An official from the Tibetan government-in-exile said separately that the Dalai Lama was expected to send a letter of condolence to President Hu Jintao.

China has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama of wanting independence for his homeland, further west of Sichuan, and of orchestrating recent unrest in Tibet in a bid to shine a spotlight on the region ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

Dalai Lama envoys this month held informal talks with Chinese officials to discuss the remote Himalayan region, amid international pressure over China's crackdown on the unrest.

Tibetans have risen up in protest against what they say has been nearly six decades of repression living under Chinese rule.

The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner has rejected China's claims, but has accused Beijing of widespread human rights violations against his people and maintained his push for greater Tibetan autonomy under Chinese rule.

Monday's 7.8-magnitude quake flattened houses, factories, schools and other buildings across Sichuan, killing thousands and trapping more under the rubble.

China has mobilised more than 50,000 soldiers to help with disaster relief.
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