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Google will pave way to freedom in China: Dalai Lama

February 23, 2010

By Lisa Baertlein, Reuters
The Vancouver Sun (Canada)
February 22, 2010

The Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of
Tibet, said the United States and other countries
could help his campaign for a free Tibet by promoting an open society in China.

"Censorship ... is the source of the problem,"
the Dalai Lama said Saturday in Beverly Hills.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed
uprising against Chinese rule. He now lives in
exile in India and advocates "meaningful autonomy" for Tibet within China.

"The Chinese people have no opportunity to know
our issue," said the Buddhist monk, who Beijing
has branded as a dangerous separatist for demanding Tibetan self-determination.

"Once China becomes an open society -- freedom of
speech, freedom of press, freedom of information
-- all this unnecessary fear and doubt will
reduce," he said. "That's the real answer for this problem.

"Americans can help in this change," he said,
adding the lack of free information has helped
the Chinese government portray him as a demon and a terrorist.

"Do I look like a demon?" the winner of the 1989
Nobel Peace Prize joked, holding his fingers beside his head to make horns.

The Dalai Lama, who was to speak on behalf of
Whole Child International, an organization that
works for orphans around the world, said Western
search engines like Google were important such as
the free flow of information within China. He
noted they had ceded to pressure from the
Communist government there to limit what users
can see. Google last month threatened to pull out
of China if the government did not agree to stop
censoring its Chineselanguage service.

The Dalai Lama's visit to Los Angeles came on the
heels of his low-key meeting Thursday with U.S.
President Barack Obama, which upset Beijing.
Obama used his first presidential meeting with
the Dalai Lama to press China to preserve Tibetan
identity and respect human rights in the region,
which has been under Chinese rule since 1950.

The Dalai Lama was reluctant to predict what impact the meeting would have.
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