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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."

Dalai Lama says world should be firm with China

August 15, 2008

By Emma Vandore
The Associated Press
August 13, 2008

PARIS (AP) -- The Dalai Lama said Wednesday that the world should be
firm with China on human rights and freedoms but must also try to
bring it into the "mainstream of world democracy."

The Tibetan spiritual leader's 12-day visit to France, coinciding
largely with the Beijing Olympics, is devoted mostly to spiritual
matters. But Wednesday offered two opportunities to discuss the issue
of tensions in Tibet — a news conference and a meeting with French lawmakers.

French deputies who attended the closed-door meeting said the Dalai
Lama told them violence by Chinese authorities in Tibet continues.

"He said the repression is hard and fierce," said Louis de Broissia,
a senator for French President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party. A Senate
statement said the Dalai Lama spoke of "arbitrary arrests, summary
executions and torture to death."

At a news conference, the Dalai Lama said the international community
"should be firm" with China on the issues of democracy, human rights,
religious freedom and the rule of law.

"But we should not isolate China" and instead bring it into the
international community with "genuine friendship," he said.

"After the Olympics, what will happen?" he asked. "I don't know. Wait and see."

Leaders in Beijing see the Olympics as a chance to showcase their
country's emergence as a new world power. Critics are increasingly
using the attention the games are attracting to condemn what they say
is China's failure to follow through on pledges to improve human
rights included with China's bid to host the games.

In a report released before the Olympics, the International Campaign
for Tibet said that since anti-China protests in March, armed
soldiers have surrounded the Himalayan region's Buddhist monasteries.
Hundreds of Tibetans have been detained or "disappeared," it said.

Many Tibetans insist they were an independent nation before communist
troops invaded in 1950, while Beijing says it has been part of
Chinese territory for centuries.

The Dalai Lama told reporters China "deserves" to host the Games --
though China has accused him of being insincere.

Before heading to Beijing for the opening ceremony, President Bush
expressed "deep concerns" over religious freedom and individual
rights in China. The Dalai Lama approved his tactic of being firm and
friendly, saying "that's the way" to negotiate with China.

"The Chinese themselves are very, very keen to join the world
community," he said.

"At the same time, the world community also has more responsibility
to bring China in the mainstream of world democracy," he said.
"That's very important."

Chinese authorities blame the Dalai Lama for recent unrest in Tibet,
which Beijing says was part of a campaign to split the Himalayan
region from the rest of China.

The Dalai Lama has denied the accusations, saying that despite
China's crackdown in Tibet, he still supports a solution of
meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people under China's rule, not
independence.

The Dalai Lama said he was disappointed by the latest round of talks
aimed at easing tensions between his supporters and China. His envoys
met with Chinese authorities for a new round of talks last month.

France's government is keeping contacts with the Dalai Lama to a
minimum during the visit -- prompting critics and human rights groups
to accuse France of bowing to Chinese pressure over business contracts.

While Sarkozy does not plan to see the him this month, a government
minister said the two men would meet Dec. 10, when Sarkozy welcomes
Nobel Peace Prize winners to Paris. The president's office did not
confirm the date, and a representative of the Dalai Lama would not
comment on it.

Asked about the Dalai Lama's visit, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said
Wednesday that China hoped France would "properly handle the
Tibet-related issues."

"We hope France can work together with China to rule out any
disruptions, to enhance our mutual trust and to maintain the momentum
of development of bilateral relations," spokesman Qin Gang said.
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