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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?"

Dalai Lama Closes British Visit with Oxford Talk

June 1, 2008

AFP
May 30, 2008

OXFORD, England -- The Dalai Lama on Friday winds up his British
tour, which was hit by a row over a meeting with Prime Minister
Gordon Brown and protests, with a talk on Buddhism at the famed
Oxford university.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual and political leader was to address
academics and students in the 17th century Sheldonian Theatre during
a talk plus question-and-answer session on Buddhism.

He is due to fly back to India Saturday before resuming his
five-country world tour in Australia at a later date. Tibet's
government-in-exile is based in Dharamshala in northern India.

The 72-year-old monk started his 11-day British visit on May 20,
flying in to a row over Brown's meeting him not at his Downing Street
office but at Lambeth Palace in London, residence of Archbishop of
Canterbury Rowan Williams.

Opponents accused Brown, who is keen to boost British economic links
with China, of pandering to Beijing, which has criticised pro-Tibet
demonstrations which flared during this year's global Olympic torch parade.

Brown denied the charge, saying the location of the talks was not as
important as the substance, which he said was not political.

Nevertheless, China sharply criticised the talks -- in a statement,
its foreign affairs ministry expressed "strong dissatisfaction",
saying the meeting "interferes in China's internal affairs".

It accuses the Nobel Peace Prize winner of fomenting secessionist
unrest in the Himalyan region.

Speaking shortly before the talks with Brown, the Dalai Lama played
down the row over the location but, asked if Britain was doing enough
to support Tibet, said: "I think not enough."

A senior British government official, speaking on condition of
anonymity, said Brown had talked to the Dalai Lama about how Britain
could support the dialogue between the spiritual leader's
representatives and China.

The Dalai Lama was also shadowed during the visit by protests staged
by pro-Beijing campaigners and the Western Shugden Society, a
Buddhist group which accuses him of stifling their freedom of worship.

About 100 monks and nuns from the organisation were in Oxford Friday
to maintain their pressure. They were separated from pro-Tibet
protesters by a heavy police presence.

The Dalai Lama has also met heir to the throne Prince Charles here,
received an honorary doctorate from a London university and held
talks and teachings in Nottingham, central England.

In an interview with AFP, he warned of renewed violence in Tibet if
dialogue between his envoys and Beijing breaks down.

Exiled Tibetan leaders say 203 people died in the Chinese crackdown
on demonstrations in the region earlier this year while China says it
killed no-one and that rioters were responsible for 21 deaths.

The talk in Oxford is being organised by the Society for the Wider
Understanding of the Buddhist Tradition (So-Wide), of which the Dalai
Lama is patron.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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