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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 wraps up contentious visit to France

August 24, 2008

AFP
August 23, 2008

PARIS (AFP) -- The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, left
Paris on Saturday on a flight bound for New Delhi after concluding a
12-day visit that fuelled tensions between Paris and Beijing.

French pro-Tibet demonstrators unfurled a banner that read "China
Lives - Tibetans Die" on a building next to the Chinese embassy in
Paris. Police took the banner down but the demonstrators were not arrested.

During his visit, the 73-year-old Nobel Peace Prize-winner met French
Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, French human rights minister Rama
Yade and first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, however, declined a meeting, sparking
accusations from opposition Socialists that "the only guiding
principle (of Sarkozy's policy towards China) appears to be not to
displease Beijing."

China accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking independence for Tibet, a
Himalayan territory ruled for the last six decades by Beijing, and of
fomenting unrest to sabotage the Olympic Games.

The Buddhist leader insists he only wants autonomy and religious
freedom, not independence for Tibet.

China had cautioned Sarkozy that meeting the Dalai Lama would have
"serious consequences" for bilateral relations, and Beijing warned
France on Wednesday to deal prudently with the "important and
sensitive" issue of Tibet.

China sent troops into Tibet in 1950 and officially "liberated" it
the following year. The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India in 1959
following a failed uprising against Chinese rule.
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