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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Rallies during Dalai Lama UK visit

May 24, 2008

The Age (Australia)
May 23, 2008

Demonstrators have targeted the Dalai Lama on the third day of his visit to Britain, on the eve of closely-watched talks between the Tibetan spiritual leader and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Supporters and critics rallied outside the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday, where the 72-year-old Buddhist monk made his first public address since arriving in London as part of a five-nation tour.

The Dalai Lama, who will meet Brown on Friday, welcomed encouraging signs of openness from China in its handling of this month's earthquake disaster, but said Beijing lacks the moral authority of a true superpower.

He also warned that China's "ruthless suppression" in Tibet would only fan calls for independence, which he does not back.

"We are not seeking separation," the Buddhist monk told the BBC before the Albert Hall event. "Sooner or later we'll have to talk with China's government so the question of independence or separation is out of the question."

The Dalai Lama acknowledged opposition to his view within Tibet, where a Chinese crackdown against demonstrators in March left more than 200 Tibetans dead and 1,000 injured, according to the Dalai Lama's government-in-exile.

"The longer time (there is) no improvement inside Tibet and ruthless suppression continue(s), then more frustration, then this view can increase," he said.

The Dalai Lama is in Britain until May 30 as part of a five-country tour, with talks on human rights and peace as well as meetings with MPs. But the meeting with the British prime minister will be the most closely watched.

Brown, who faces a delicate balancing act between supporting Tibetan rights and not offending China, has been criticised for not hosting the monk at the prime minister's Downing Street residence.

Instead he will meet him at Lambeth Palace, home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Brown aides have insisted the prime minister is holding the talks with the Dalai Lama as a spiritual leader not a political figure.

Appearing before the House of Commons foreign affairs committee a few hours before his Albert Hall appearance, the Dalai Lama downplayed controversy over his meeting with Brown.

But asked if Britain was doing enough to support Tibet, he replied: "I think not enough."

On Thursday hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the Royal Albert Hall, where he was to give his first public address since arriving in London.

Monks and nuns from the Western Shugden Society, whose worship of a deity was outlawed by the Dalai Lama in 1996, vied for space with pro-China protesters. In all there were more than 1,000 protesters, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

On the pro-Chinese side demonstrators held aloft banners that read "The Dalai Lama is neither God nor King of Tibet," "No return to serfdom," and "Dalai Lama, stop lying".

The spiritual leader later met Britain's heir to the throne Prince Charles for talks about "spiritual matters" at his Clarence House residence. The Dalai Lama planted a tree there and prayed before the talks began.

In his BBC interview the Dalai Lama was asked whether the transparency shown by China in dealing with the earthquake gave him hope about the way Beijing might deal with Tibet in the future.

"It is an indication that China is changing, becoming more open, and I think the leadership gradually or cautiously moves onto more openness, more transparent," he said. "It is a wonderful, an encouraging sign."

The Dalai Lama agreed that the West needed good economic ties with China as an emerging superpower.

"Their ambition is to become a superpower. It is deserved - most populous nation and ancient nation," he said.

But he added: "In order to become a superpower, a respected superpower - moral authority here now they are lacking. So the Tibetans are saying if you are real genuine close friend then make correction of your friend's mistakes!
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