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Dalai Lama criticises 'one-sided' Chinese teaching

May 21, 2008

The Dalai Lama arrives outside his hotel in central London, at the
start of an 11-day visit to Britain.
Matthew Weaver and agencies
The Guardian
May 20, 2008

The Dalai Lama arrives outside his hotel in central London, at the
start of an 11-day visit to Britain.

The Dalai Lama arrives outside his hotel in central London, at the
start of an 11-day visit to Britain. Photograph: Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images

The Dalai Lama today avoided politics and concentrated on education
as his high-profile visit to the UK began.

The Tibetan spiritual leader was receiving an honorary doctorate from
London Metropolitan University.

During a 30-minute address, he criticised of China's "one-sided"
teaching system.

However, he made no mention of Beijing's human rights record or his
forthcoming meeting with Gordon Brown.

That meeting has come in for fierce criticism after it emerged that
it would not take place at Downing Street but at Lambeth Palace, with
the Archbishop of Canterbury also in attendance.

To some, the arrangement had been seen as a snub to the Dalai Lama,
treating him only as a spiritual leader at the expense of his political role.

"Treating the Dalai Lama as only a religious leader simply ignores
the reality," the former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said.

"There is no reason why he should not be received at Number 10."

Campaigners claimed the location was a compromise intended to
distance the prime minister from the independence movement.

Former prime ministers Tony Blair and John Major each received the
Dalai Lama at No 10 while they were in office.

In a 30-minute address at the university, he discussed his education
and the benefits of schooling.

Speaking in broken English despite a translator being on hand, he
said: "I'm extremely happy to be here.

"In Tibet, although the Chinese government did help in modern
education -- the totalitarian system is one-sided, every field is
much politicised. It does not give a complete form of education."

Brown agreed to meet the Dalai Lama during this visit when
pro-independence protests in Tibet were at their height two months ago.

At the time, such a meeting was regarded as a snub to China, which
accused the Dalai Lama of orchestrating the Tibetan unrest. He denied
the charge.

He will take part in a hearing of the Commons foreign affairs
committee later this week as part of the 11-day visit. He is also
scheduled to lead five days of teaching at the Nottingham Arena from Saturday.

The Dalai Lama has been travelling the world to publicise the plight
of Tibetans for nearly 50 years. He became head of state, at the age
of just 15, when China invaded Tibet in 1950.

When Tibetans took to the streets in a failed uprising against
Chinese rule in March 1959, the Dalai Lama fled to India.

He has repeatedly called for peaceful resistance to Chinese
occupation, and was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1989.

Tensions in Tibet flared this March when Buddhist monks marched to
mark the 49th anniversary of the uprising.

Violence escalated as protesters took to the streets of Lhasa, where
they were confronted by a strong Chinese military clampdown.
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