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Thursday, April 23, 2009

China lacks moral sway: Dalai Lama


Staff writer

NARITA, Chiba Pref. — China must get rid of its autocratic policies and install moral authority if it wants to establish itself as a true global superpower, the Dalai Lama said Wednesday.

The Tibetan spiritual leader, visiting Japan before a two-week trip to the United States, criticized Beijing for suppressing minorities and waging a "propaganda campaign" during an antigovernment rally in Lhasa, the capital, last year.

"Such a big nation acting like a child," he told reporters in Narita, Chiba Prefecture.

The Tibetan leader has been living in exile in India since 1959, when the Chinese army crushed resistance in the high, mountainous region.

China has accused the Dalai Lama of masterminding separatist movements while it clamps down to take stricter control of what it calls the Tibet Autonomous Region. It sentenced two Tibetans to death earlier this month for instigating deadly fires during anti-China protests in Lhasa just months before the Beijing Olympics last year.

The Dalai Lama condemned the rulings, saying there was "no rule of law and everything was controlled by the party" that single-handedly runs the communist state. He said the verdict was politically motivated and China's latest effort to distract the public from reality.

The Dalai Lama, whose real name is Tenzin Gyatso, said the truth behind the riots in the holy Buddhist city must be brought to light and urged the media to investigate.

The Tibetan leader is slated to lecture at joint panel discussions, including one at Harvard University, during his U.S. trip. He said the purpose of the visit was to promote the concepts of "religious harmony" and "inner value" over those of materialism.

The Dalai Lama, who was recently denied a visa from South Africa under pressure from China, said he will not be meeting major political figures during the trip. But he also said a meeting with President Barack Obama might be in the cards this fall when he visits Washington, where he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor, in 2007 by then President George W. Bush.

The leader also repeated that Tibet is not seeking independence from China but the preservation of its cultural and religious heritage.

Beijing, whose presence is growing in the global community, has "no need for such sort of fear" and must learn to harmonize with others instead of eradicating their opinions, he said.

Last month, at a rally in India, he lambasted the government and said the Communist Party had turned Tibet into a "hell on Earth."



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