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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China criticizes Dalai Lama's visit to Germany as part of 'splittist' agenda

September 21, 2007 (Pressemitteilung), Austria

BEIJING, 20.09.2007 (AP) - China on Thursday condemned a visit by exiled
Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama to Germany, saying it was intended to
further what Beijing alleges is an agenda to seek independence for the
Himalayan region.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Beijing had expressed «our
solemn position to Germany,» over the visit, claiming the Dalai Lama was
using religion to further his political agenda.

«We are against his splittist activities. We also oppose any country or
individual who uses the Dalai issue as a means to meddle in China's
internal affairs,» Jiang said at a regularly scheduled news conference.
China routinely criticizes visits abroad by the Dalai Lama, who fled
Tibet for India in 1959 during a failed uprising against Chinese rule.
Winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, he remains popular among Tibetans
and widely respected abroad, despite efforts to undermine him by Chinese

China claims Tibet has been its territory for centuries, but many
Tibetans say they were effectively independent for most of that period.
In an expression of its pique over the visit, China earlier summoned
Germany's ambassador to China to the Foreign Ministry, a typical
diplomatic way of expressing displeasure.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was scheduled to meet the Dalai Lama at
her office on Sunday, the first time the Dalai Lama has been received at
the German chancellery, although he met with Germany's former Foreign
Minister Joschka Fischer several times during his time in office.

Merkel, who took power in 2005, has raised human rights publicly during
both of her trips to China as chancellor, in contrast to her
predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, who opponents accused of soft-pedaling
the issue in favor of commercial interests.

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