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Dalai Lama Calls Again For Crackdown Probe

April 11, 2008

The Wall Street Journal
April 10, 2008

CHIBA, Japan -- The Dalai Lama reiterated his appeal for an
international investigation into China's recent crackdown of an
antigovernment uprising in Tibet, calling Beijing's version of events

The exiled Tibetan leader spoke during a brief stopover Thursday in
Japan en route to the U.S. -- his first visit since the Tibetan clashes
-- where he is slated to speak at a religious conference in Seattle.

China has accused the Dalai Lama of inciting the riots, which it
describes as looting by a small group of Tibetan separatists. The Dalai
Lama refutes that claim, saying the uprisings come amid wider discontent
in the autonomous region.

The international community needs to go to Tibet to "carry thorough
investigations," the Dalai Lama said at a press conference near Tokyo's
international airport, where he was transiting for just several hours.
"The official explanation sometimes seems distorted," he said.

The Dalai Lama also insisted his trip to Seattle had nothing to do with
politics. The "main purpose of my visit to the United States is
essentially nonpolitical," he said. He said he would be happy to attend
the Beijing Olympic Games in August, if he were invited.

The Tibetan leader, a religious and cultural figurehead for the region
who fled his homeland for India in 1959, has said he wants better
treatment of ethnic Tibetans in China, but not Tibetan independence.

Still, China was quick to protest the leader's travels overseas from his
base in India. Speaking at a scheduled press conference shortly after
the Dalai Lama's press conference, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu
called on "countries with friendly relations with China not to support
any separatist activities."

The Dalai Lama's travels come amid heightened political sensitivities
surrounding the summer games. In recent days, Olympic torch relays have
been repeatedly disrupted by protestors who were angry over China's
actions in Tibet. On Wednesday, the torch procession was rerouted away
from thousands of demonstrators and spectators in San Francisco over
security concerns. (See related article4.)

Several world leaders including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and
German Chancellor Angela Merkel have said they won't attend the opening
ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. President Bush has also faced pressure
to stay away. (See related article5.)

Mr. Bush on Wednesday urged Beijing to hold direct talks with the Dalai
Lama, a call China quickly shrugged off. "The activities of the Dalai
clique have undermined any basis for contact and talks," said Ms. Jiang,
the foreign ministry spokeswoman.

The Dalai Lama's Tokyo stopover has been a delicate issue for Japan,
which has been trying to bolster relations with China. The Dalai Lama is
a popular figure in this predominantly Buddhist country, and makes
frequent visits here as well as stopovers en route to the U.S. Top
government spokesman Nobutaka Machimura stressed Thursday that no
government officials would meet with the Dalai Lama.

The religious leader, however, met with Akie Abe, the wife of former
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at a hotel near the airport, local media
reported. The Foreign Ministry and Mr. Abe's office declined to confirm
the reports, and said that even if a meeting had taken place, it was in
a personal capacity.
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