World Must Bring China Into Democratic Fold: Dalai Lama

December 11th 2008

Warsaw, Poland, 11 December 2008 (AFP) - Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama called on the world community to bring China into the democratic mainstream, in a speech to Polish deputies Thursday.

"The free world has moral responsibility to bring China into the mainstream of world democracy. That is very essential, very important," the Dalai Lama told members of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee.

"My faith is thinner, thinner, thinner in (the) Chinese government, but my faith in (the) Chinese people is never shaken," he said, stressing he also hoped for "more openness" under China's current President Hu Jintao.

"The world community... should not isolate China -- China must be brought into the mainstream of the world community."

The Dalai Lama, who was speaking during an official visit to the Polish parliament, also called on the parliaments of Poland and other European Union states to champion the cause of civil right for Tibetans within China.

"Your influence and your persuasion is very, very important since our dialogue with the Chinese government is... faltering," he said.

On Thursday, China warned Poland that bilateral relations were at risk of being harmed, a day after President Lech Kaczynski met the Dalai Lama here.

A similar row erupted between Beijing and Paris after French President Nicolas Sarkozy met the Dalai Lama Saturday in Gdansk, northern Poland.

Apparently unfazed by Beijing's latest protest, the Dalai Lama told reporters Thursday: "It is now routine -- where I go, there is some special blessing from Chinese side."

The Dalai Lama is currently in Poland on an eight-day visit ending Friday at the invitation of Senate Speaker Bogdan Borusewicz and Poland's Solidarity hero and ex-president Lech Walesa.

A fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Walesa invited the Dalai Lama to Poland's Baltic Sea port city of Gdansk for weekend ceremonies marking 25 years since he received the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Polish anti-communist icon was honoured as the leader of Poland's Solidarity trade union.

China argues that the Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, wants full independence for Tibet. He has dismissed this claim as "totally baseless" saying he wants autonomy for his homeland within China.

Now 73, the Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since fleeing his homeland after a failed uprising in 1959 against Chinese rule.

China has ruled Tibet since 1951, after invading the Himalayan region the previous year.


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