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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China lacks moral fibre to be superpower: Dalai Lama

May 24, 2008

The Globe and Mail/Associated Press
May 22, 2008

LONDON - China lacks the moral authority needed to be considered a
superpower, the Dalai Lama said Thursday in remarks to British
legislators in which he also noted that the Summer Olympics provide
an opportunity to press Beijing over human rights.

"Chinese leaders want to be a good member of the whole world, and the
Chinese ambition is to become a superpower," the Dalai Lama told
Parliament's foreign affairs select committee.

He said China meets most of the criteria to become a leading power,
but still lacks the moral standing required to achieve the global
status it craves.

"Big population, there," he said. "Army, there. Economic power,
there. The fourth thing is moral authority. In order to become a
superpower, moral authority is very important."

  The Dalai Lama is on an 11-day visit to Britain. He meets with
Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Friday at Lambeth Palace, home of the
Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the Church of
England and the Anglican Communion.

Some opposition politicians have accused Mr. Brown of trying to avoid
provoking China by meeting the Dalai Lama at Lambeth Palace rather
than at his official Downing Street residence.

"For me, no difference," the Dalai Lama said, when asked about
Brown's choice of venue. "It's all meeting and talking; that's the
important thing."

The Dalai Lama also said he believes world leaders should attend the
Beijing Olympics if they believe meeting with Chinese leaders will
help improve the country's human rights policies.

He told the British Broadcasting Corp. that he believes the Summer
Games could provide a chance to press China over Tibet.

"If they feel to talk and meet with Chinese leaders is more
effective, then go there," he said, referring to the Olympics.

"The world should take this opportunity to remind the Chinese
government of its poor record on human rights and religious freedom
and the environment."

Meanwhile, the 72-year-old exiled Tibetan leader said he sensed that
China is slowly changing its approach.

"I think at least decade by decade," he said. "Hopefully now (this
will) lead to a more transparent attitude in other fields, including
the Tibet case."

Chinese officials seemed unimpressed by the Dalai Lama's earlier
statement that he would consider attending the Beijing Olympics, if a
number of conditions were met.

"If the Dalai side truly wants to make some contribution to his
motherland, then he should really stop separatist activities, stop
plotting and provoking violent activities and stop disrupting the
Beijing Olympics," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang.

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in Dharamsala, India, since 1959,
eight years after Chinese troops occupied Tibet.

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 and touched off pro-Tibetan demonstrations in
three neighbouring provinces -- and around the world during the
Olympic torch relay.
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