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China dissaproves of Dalai Lama's meeting with Canada's PM

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, with Nancy Pelosi, Robert Byrd and George W. Bush on October 17, 2007.

The Dalai Lama XIV visited Toronto for the last two day's of his visit to Canada yesterday. He arrived at the Fairmont Royal York hotel in downtown Toronto.

He blessed the Tibetan Canadian Community Centre in Etobicoke, Ontario this morning, he also talked about "The Art of Happiness" to a crowd of 30,000 people at the Rogers Centre this afternoon, as well as making visits to other places.

Tibetan Canadians waited outside of the hotel to meet the Dalai Lama for more than an hour.

"I am just one man. If humanity tomorrow faces great difficulties, one individual cannot escape," he said.

"The situation inside Tibet is not as rosy as the Chinese propaganda would say," said the Dalai Lama in response to China's "dissatisfaction". "My Chinese brothers and sisters are always very sensitive. And the Tibet issue is very sensitive." The Dalai Lama fled from Tibet to India after the Tibetan resistance movement collapsed in 1959.

China expressed dissatisfaction at the meeting, but did not specify what they are dissatisfied with. However, the Dalai Lama's recent visits to countries around the world is one factor and China says he is pushing to separate Tibet, but he said he wants autonomy, not separatism. There is an unofficial report that the Dalai Lama will be meeting with Pope Benedict XVI on December 13, but the Vatican has not yet commented on whether this is true.

"We express strong dissatisfaction [with Monday's meeting]," said ministry spokesman, Liu Jianchao. "We hope they can reflect on and correct the erroneous actions."

"It is a blatant interference in China's internal affairs and has severely hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and will gravely undermine the relationship between China and Canada," said political counsellor, Sun Lushan.

The Dalai Lama told Prime Minister Stephen Harper during their meeting on Monday to "please take a few thousand more" [Tibetan refugees living in exile in Nepal and India], but a spokesman for Immigration Minister Diane Finley said "According to the UNHCR, they're not facing persecution in India. But having said that, we are prepared to review applications on a case-by-case basis if they're referred to us by the UNHCR."

Secretary of state for multiculturalism Jason Kenney, who is a defender of human rights, particularly freedom of religion, said he hopes the "entire world gets the message that attacking a 72-year-old Buddhist monk who advocates nothing more than cultural autonomy for his people is counterproductive." He also said exports to China and Chinese tourism rose after the Dalai Lama was given honorary citizenship in July 2006.


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