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Dalai Lama Calls for Non-violence

May 21, 2008

THE Dalai Lama called for dialogue as a means to end violence today
as he wrapped up a visit to Germany that has stirred fresh tension with China.
 From correspondents in Berlin
Agence France-Presse (AFP)
May 20, 2008 05:14am

"The 20th century was the century of bloodshed. I say the 21st
century should be one of dialogue," he told up to 25,000 supporters
gathered at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, many waving Tibetan flags.

"Deep in our minds should be the interest of others. That is very,
very important. In that way we can genuinely build a peaceful world."

The words came at the end of the first leg of a five-nation tour
likely to maintain pressure on China over its military clampdown on
protests in Tibet in March, as the country prepares to host the Olympic Games.

But the 1989 Nobel peace laureate held out an olive branch to
Beijing, insisting he is not seeking independence for the Himalayan
region China annexed in 1951, but rather cultural autonomy.

"I see many Tibetan flags here. I want to make clear that is not to
be considered something against China. This is not a separatist movement.

"We respect and support the five-star red flag," he said, referring
to the Chinese standard.

Offering his condolences to the victims of last week's massive
earthquake in south-west China, which has left more than 71,000
people dead, missing or trapped at the latest count, he said: "Let us
pray and sing and express our condolences to the Chinese people.

"Let us share this sadness of thousands and thousands of Chinese who
suffer due to the earthquake."

Earlier, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader held talks with German
development minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul and met the foreign
affairs committee of parliament.

Both events drew protest from the Chinese government, eight months
after a meeting between the Buddhist leader and German chancellor
Angela Merkel caused a deep diplomatic rift with Beijing that has
only recently begun to heal.

Ms Wieczorek-Zeul said she had reiterated Germany's demands for
direct talks between Tibetan representatives and China.

"I stressed how important peaceful dialogue with China can be. The
position of the federal government on this issue is very clear and I
have stated it again here."

China this month resumed talks with Tibetan envoys in a move seen as
a response to global condemnation of its crackdown on protestors in
Lhasa, which Tibetan leaders say claimed more than 200 lives.

Beijing has countered that Tibetan "rioters" and "insurgents" killed
21 people and accused the Dalai Lama of being behind the violence.

He has denied the charge, and began his tour of Germany on Thursday
with an attack on China's response to the unrest, accusing Beijing of
"suppression" and spreading "resentment" beyond Tibet's borders.

Ms Merkel overnight welcomed the Beijing-Tibet talks and said
unhappiness over the Dalai Lama's reception here should not set back
the process.

"The chancellor expressly welcomes the resumption of dialogue,"
government spokesman Thomas Steg said.

"We do not believe that today's meeting will have a negative impact
on the dialogue forming between China and the Dalai Lama's
representatives on developments in Tibet and perhaps also in
neighbouring regions."

The Chinese embassy last week accused the Dalai Lama of "playing
politics" in the run-up to the Olympics, and said Germany should have
stopped his visit.

"We object to a member of the German government receiving the Dalai
Lama and to Germany allowing him to carry out this visit," embassy
official Zhang Junhui said.

The Dalai Lama will next visit Britain, Australia, the US and France
in a three-month Western tour ending in mid-August - just before the
conclusion of the Beijing Olympics.

British prime minister Gordon Brown will meet him on Saturday but,
unlike his predecessors, not in his Downing Street office - a
decision that has drawn accusations that he is kowtowing to Beijing.
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