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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?"

India restricts coverage of Dalai Lama's visit

November 6, 2009

The Associated Press (AP)
November 5, 2009

NEW DELHI -- The Indian government refused
Thursday to allow foreign journalists to cover
the Dalai Lama's visit to a northeastern state at
the heart of a long-running border dispute with China.

Permits allowing foreign correspondents to travel
to Arunachal Pradesh state were not given, and
the government revoked passes previously provided
to four of them, including two Associated Press journalists.

Foreigners require special government permission
to visit the mountainous state.

"We are incredibly surprised and disappointed to
learn that reporters' visas to Arunachal Pradesh
have been canceled ahead of the Dalai Lama's
visit," said Heather Timmons, president of the
New Delhi-based Foreign Correspondents' Club.

China has strongly opposed the Tibetan spiritual
leader's visit to a Buddhist monastery in the
Arunachal Pradesh town of Tawang beginning Sunday.

Although relations between India and China have
improved in recent years, tensions can flare
because of sharpening economic rivalries,
lingering bitterness over their shared border,
and unrest in Tibet — the Chinese-controlled
Himalayan region on the Indian frontier.

Last week, the Dalai Lama said China was
overpoliticizing his travels, adding his
decisions on where to go were spiritual in nature, not political.

Beijing opposes most activities of the Dalai
Lama, who lives in exile in India and whom it
accuses of advocating independence from Chinese rule for his native Tibet.

The Indian foreign ministry spokesman was not available for comment.
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