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Dalai Lama says China overpoliticizing his travels

November 4, 2009

By ERIC TALMADGE
AP
October 31, 2009

TOKYO -- The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual
leader, said Saturday that China was
overpoliticizing his travels and claimed his
decisions on where to go were spiritual in nature, not political.

The Dalai Lama, on a visit to Tokyo, said he
believed the Chinese government saw him as a
"troublemaker" and had read too much political
meaning into his frequent travels abroad.

"The Chinese government considers me a
troublemaker, so it is my duty to create more
trouble," he quipped. "The Chinese government
politicizes too much wherever I go. Where I go is not political."

Despite strong criticism from China, the Buddhist
leader, who lives in exile in India, recently
visited Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory.

Beijing has also strongly opposed his planned
visit next month to India's northeastern state of
Arunachal Pradesh, which is at the heart of a
long-running border dispute with China. He is
scheduled to visit the Tawang Buddhist monastery in the state on Nov. 8.

"I am surprised the Chinese government is
negative about my visit," he said. "If it creates some problems, that is sad."

Beijing opposes most activities of the Dalai
Lama, whom it accuses of advocating independence
from Chinese rule for his native Tibet.

Last month he visited Taiwan, his third trip
there, to bless the survivors of Typhoon Morakot,
which left nearly 700 people dead after it hit
the island on Aug 8. He visited disaster areas in
southern Taiwan, comforted survivors and held a
prayer meeting for typhoon victims attended by
15,000 people, according to his official Web site.

The Dalai Lama did not shy away from criticizing
China at his news conference Saturday, saying it
lacks freedom and transparency, and is not trusted by its neighbors.

He encouraged people to visit Tibet and decide
whether Tibetans under Chinese government rule are happy and thriving.

"Go see for yourself," he said. "If we are wrong,
we will quit all of our activities."

Tibetans attacked Chinese migrants and shops in
the regional capital, Lhasa, and torched parts of
the city's commercial district in anti-government riots in March 2008.

Chinese officials say 22 people died, but
Tibetans say many times that number were killed.

The violence in Lhasa and protests in Tibetan
communities across western China were the most
sustained unrest in the region since the late 1980s.
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