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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?"

Resolve Tibet issue for lasting peace between India, China: Dalai Lama

October 20, 2007


Expressing regret that the US's decision to honour him has caused tension between Washington and Beijing, the Dalai Lama "categorically" said he was not seeking
Tibetan independence, but alleged that his homeland is facing social and environmental degradation due to Chinese rule.

Speaking at a ceremony where he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honour bestowed by the US Congress, the Tibetan spiritual
leader also said resolving the Tibetan issue has "important implications for lasting peace" between neighbours India and China, even as he praised the two countries'
economic success.

"I believe that today's economic success of both India and China...Is most deserving. With their newfound status both of these two countries are poised to play
important leading role on the world stage," he said adding that to fulfil this role, China has to show more "transparency, rule of law, and the freedom of information".

On the future of Tibet, the Dalai Lama "categorically" said he was "not seeking independence."

"I am seeking a meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people within the People's Republic of China," he said.

"...I have no hidden agenda. My decision not to accept any political office in the future of Tibet is final," the spiritual leader said, and dismissed Chinese contention
that he was "an instrument of Western anti-Chinese forces".

The Dalai Lama also used the high-profile event, attended by US President George W Bush, among others, to highlight his concerns about the consequences of
exploitation of Tibet's natural resources by China and the effect of Chinese influx into the Himalayan region.

The Dalai Lama said the influx of Chinese into the Tibetan plateau is "increasing at an alarming rate" and there is a real danger that the Tibetans will be reduced to an
"insignificant minority in their own homeland".

He added that the rapid increase in population is also posing a serious threat to Tibet's fragile environment. "Being the source of many of Asia's great rivers, any
substantial disturbance in Tibet's ecology will impact the lives of hundreds of millions," the Nobel laureate said.

"Furthermore, being situated between India and China, the peaceful resolution of the Tibet problem also has important implications for lasting peace and friendly
relations between these two great neighbours," he said.

President Bush, who personally met the Dalai Lama on Tuesday at the White House, urged the Chinese leadership to welcome the Tibetan spiritual leader.

"Americans cannot look to the plight of the religiously oppressed and close our eyes or turn away. And that is why I will continue to urge the leaders of China to
welcome the Dalai Lama to China," Bush said at the Medal ceremony.

He praised the Dalai lama, describing him as a "universal symbol of peace and tolerance".

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said that American presidents and the American people have been inspired by His Holiness.

"The Dalai Lama has expressed a willingness to visit China to engage directly with high level officials. It is my sincere hope that Beijing will take advantage of this
opportunity and extend an invitation to His Holiness for substantive discussions," Pelosi said.

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