Dalai Lama Urges Pressure Over Tibet 'Oppression'

June 6th 2009

The Hague, The Netherlands, 5 June 2009 (AFP) - Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, urged the international community Friday to make an independent assessment of the situation in the region and put pressure on China to end the "oppression".

"Please, international community, judge whether there is a problem or not. Go there and investigate," he told members of the Dutch parliament on the final day of a three-day visit.

"In the case the majority of people genuinely are happy, then our information is wrong ... and we will have to apologise to the Chinese government.

"If, on the other hand, there is real resentment to China's ... oppression, then tell the Chinese government they should accept the reality and should start a realistic approach. Force is not a solution."

The 73-year-old exiled Buddhist spiritual leader told MPs his faith in the Chinese government was growing "thinner" with all efforts at negotiation having failed.

Tibet's future, he stressed, lay within the People's Republic of China but with cultural and religious autonomy.

"We are not seeking separation," he said, dismissing Chinese claims he was seeking the establishment of a greater, independent Tibet.

The 14th Dalai Lama, winner of the 1989 Nobel peace prize, stressed he was on a mission to promote religious harmony and would not be drawn on Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's decision not to receive him.

"That is your business," he told parliamentarians. "I have no political agenda. I do not want to create any inconvenience."

Beijing had warned Tuesday that countries receiving the Dalai Lama on his European tour will "severely damage" relations with China.

The Dalai Lama nevertheless met Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen on Friday morning, not at his ministry but as part of an "inter-faith dialogue" in The Hague between the minister and leaders of religious communities.

Living in exile in India since 1959, the Dalai Lama was due to open a concert in Amsterdam, entitled "Night of Tibet", on Friday evening before departing for France.

 

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