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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Dalai Lama hits out at China

June 9, 2009

PARIS: 07 June 2009 (AFP) - The Dalai Lama accused China on Saturday of
imposing a "death sentence" on Tibet, as he arrived in Paris for a visit
that has once again chilled Franco-Chinese relations.

 

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader is to be named an honorary citizen of
the French capital despite warnings from the Chinese government that his
arrival will harm relations with France.

 

The Dalai Lama criticised Beijing's actions in Tibet since apparent
anti-Chinese protests erupted in the region last year.

 

"Since March 2008 I have the feeling that a very old nation and its heritage
and culture have received a death sentence," he told reporters at Paris
airport on his arrival.

 

"The Chinese government makes a hard line policy, but the Chinese people are
ignorant of the situation. The international community must go there to
investigate, without restrictions."

 

The Dalai Lama, 73, is to be made an honorary citizen of Paris on Sunday.

 

On Saturday he met pro-Tibetan French lawmakers and members of the Chinese
and Tibetan community in France.

 

"He seem to us very pessimistic," said Lionnel Luca, president of the French
parliament's 170-strong Tibet studies group. "For the first time he told us
that the March 2008 events were a provocation by the Chinese authorities."

 

The lawmaker, a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party, said the
Dalai Lama had accused the Chinese state of sending its agents to smash up
shops in an effort to blacken the name of Tibetan protest movements.

 

French officials said it was a coincidence the Dalai Lama would be in Paris
at the same time as US President Barack Obama and there are no plans for the
exiled Tibetan spiritual leader to meet top political representatives.

 

"Once more I'm very happy to come to France. The main reason of my visit is
to receive the honour, citizen of Paris," the Dalai Lama told reporters.

 

"It's an opportunity to meet my old friends among politicians, business men,
intellectuals and ordinary people."

 

France is the fourth and final leg of his latest European tour, which he has
insisted is not political, but China has given strong warnings to European
governments.

 

France and China have only just patched up relations following Beijing's
anger over Sarkozy's meeting with the Dalai Lama in December.

 

Last month China warned France not to make more "errors" on Tibet.

 

"If the Paris city government does make this award, it will definitely meet
once again with the Chinese people's firm opposition," a foreign ministry
spokesman said, describing such moves as meddling in China's internal
affairs.

 

The Socialist mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, has said the award is an
initiative of the city and not of the French state.

 

But those assurances have done nothing to assuage the anger in Beijing,
which accuses the Dalai Lama, who has been living in exile in India since
1959, of seeking independence for Tibet from Chinese rule.

 

Delanoe said "there is no question of interfering" but that "there was also
no question of renouncing my convictions, without seeking to be
provocative."

 

The Dalai Lama kicked off his latest European tour in Denmark last Friday
and has also visited Iceland and the Netherlands.
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