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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Dalai Lama Criticizes Chinese Suppression, Stresses Tibet's Need for Autonomy

May 19, 2008

The Boston Herald/By Associated Press
May 15, 2008

FRANKFURT, Germany - The Dalai Lama criticized China's "suppression"
of unrest in Tibet and insisted today that the region — with its
diverse heritage and rich traditions — wants to live in peace with
its neighbor under genuine autonomy.

"We are not seeking independence," the exiled Tibetan spiritual
leader said at the start of a five-day visit to Germany. "Since we
have a multicultural heritage and rich Buddhist tradition, we need
genuine autonomy."

But he criticized China's approach toward unrest in Tibet and its
sympathizers elsewhere in the country.

"Demonstrations are happening in Tibet and China and some are
suppressed, which is very sad," he said.

The Dalai Lama said his visit was aimed at promoting human values and
religious harmony.

"I've had a close friendship with the German people, and I'd like to
inform and explain about the state of affairs in Tibet on my trip,"
he said, noting that he has been visiting the country since 1973.

The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate said Tibet and China shared a
"universal heritage" and acknowledged Germans' concern about recent
unrest in Tibet.

He said he is hopeful of common ground in future talks between
Tibetan leaders and China's government.

"Hopefully there will be more seriousness about this in our meetings
so eventually some constructive understanding can take place," he said.

Roland Koch, governor of Hesse state, welcomed the Dalai Lama and
said that while Germany was happy the Olympic Games are taking place
in China, it still has questions about China's human rights record.

He said Germany has had a long relationship with China and that a
"certain courage to change" is necessary to help the Tibetan issue —
but won't come easily.

Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted the Dalai Lama in September in the
Berlin chancellery — an encounter that underlined her willingness to
publicly address awkward issues with China but also exposed strains
in her left-right governing coalition. Her decision to host the
spiritual leader infuriated Beijing, which canceled several meetings
between German and Chinese officials.

China -- which claims Tibet has been part of its territory for
centuries -- routinely protests meetings between foreign governments
and the Dalai Lama. China has ruled the Himalayan region with a heavy
hand since its communist-led forces invaded Tibet in 1959.

Protests against Chinese rule began in March in the Tibetan capital,
Lhasa, on the 49th anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese
rule. Events turned violent four days later, touching off
demonstrations by Tibetans and their supporters in three neighboring
provinces — and around the world.

Merkel currently is in Latin America and will not meet with the Dalai
Lama, officials said.

Merkel spokesman Thomas Steg dismissed suggestions that the
government was avoiding a meeting with the religious leader. He said
Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul would meet the Dalai
Lama on Monday.

The Dalai Lama will meet also another state governor from Merkel's
conservative party as well as the president of Germany's parliament.
He is to give a series of lectures culminating in an address Monday
in front of Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate.
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