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"For a happier, more stable and civilized future, each of us must develop a sincere, warm-hearted feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood."

Dalai Lama arrives in London for 11-day visit

May 21, 2008

AFP
May 20, 2008

London, May 20 - The Dalai Lama arrived in Britain Tuesday for an
11-day visit, notably to meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown and address
MPs, after a trip to Germany that stirred up fresh tension with China.

The Tibetan spiritual leader touched down at London's Heathrow
airport from Berlin -- one of five cities he visited in Germany to
talk about human rights and peace as well as meet lawmakers and
address the country's parliament.

His British tour, which ends May 30, follows a similar pattern with a
high-profile meeting with Brown and the leader of the world's
Anglican communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, in London Friday.

On Tuesday he was to receive an honorary degree from a London
university, then meet lawmakers Wednesday.

On Thursday he will give evidence concerning China's human rights
record in Tibet to a parliamentary oversight committee on foreign
affairs -- including Beijing's military crackdown on protests there in March.

He will also speak at London's Royal Albert Hall, in Nottingham as
well as in Oxford.

The Dalai Lama's visit to Germany -- the first leg of a five-nation
tour -- maintained tensions between Berlin and Beijing eight months
after he met Chancellor Angela Merkel, causing a deep diplomatic rift.

China accuses the Dalai Lama of fomenting trouble ahead of the
Beijing Olympics in August -- an allegation rejected by the Buddhist
cleric, who fled to India after a failed anti-Chinese uprising in his
homeland in 1959.

But he was keen to stress again that he is not seeking independence
for the Himalayan region China annexed in 1951, but rather cultural autonomy.

The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner will meet Brown at Williams'
Lambeth Palace residence, on the south bank of the Thames opposite
parliament, instead of at the prime minister's home in Downing Street.

Both of Brown's immediate predecessors, Tony Blair and John Major,
met the Dalai Lama in Downing Street.

Critics have attacked the decision, accusing Brown -- who is keen to
boost trade and other ties with China -- of bowing to pressure from
Beijing unhappy at protests around the world in support of Tibetan
pro-democracy campaigners.

The London leg of the Olympic torch relay on April 6 was marred by
scuffles with police and Chinese security officials guarding the
flame on its route around the capital.

Brown, who has said he was "unhappy" about China's actions in Tibet
in March, rejected criticisms that he was willing to "kowtow" to
Beijing, saying the location of the talks was not as important as the
substance.

"All issues of substance relating to our views of what's happening in
Tibet will be discussed and we will be pressing the Dalai Lama to
join us in facilitating negotiations between the Chinese government
and the Tibetans," he told parliament on May 14.
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