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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?"

Dalai Lama Makes Peace Overture to China

June 13, 2008

The West Australian
June 12, 2008

The Dalai Lama has made conciliatory comments about China, paving the
way for fresh talks on the Tibetan crisis before the Beijing Olympics.

The exiled Tibetan leader is on a five-day visit to Australia he
describes as non-political.

But he is meeting government, opposition and minor party officials,
and he seized the chance to mend relations with China strained by
Beijing's deadly crackdown on dissidents in Tibet in March.

Talking to reporters before resuming his teachings at a Sydney
meditation seminar, the Dalai Lama urged supporters not to disrupt
next week's Olympic torch visit to the Tibetan capital Lhasa.

He also praised the Chinese leadership's greater openness and
expressed confidence about the future of talks over Tibet.

He said the talks had not stalled but had been postponed because of
China's recent earthquake tragedy, which claimed tens of thousands of lives.

President Hu Jintao had expressed "seriousness" about the talks with
the Dalai Lama's envoys, and the dialogue would resume "maybe next
month", he said.

"Basically, I'm optimistic," he said.

China had changed markedly in the past 30 or 40 years, he said, with
better communication and more openness.

The Dalai Lama, dressed in his trademark billowing robes, allowed
himself a chuckle when he said some people had described China's
economic expansion as "communist capitalism".

He said it was "wonderful" that the Chinese government had handled
its recent earthquake tragedy with much more transparency than in the past.

He distanced himself from Hollywood actress Sharon Stone's suggestion
that the earthquake may be "karma", though he did say: "Every event
is due to karma".

He stressed the crisis in Tibet was a lasting one, not an isolated incident.

He called on Beijing to give Tibet "meaningful autonomy", adding:
"Stability must come from the heart, not a gun".

The 72-year-old Nobel laureate predicted a trouble-free visit to
Tibet for the Olympic torch relay, which has been the target of
anti-Beijing demonstrations in Europe, the US, Asia and Australia.

"We have fully supported the Olympic Games right from the beginning," he said.

"The torch is part of that.

"Over one billion Chinese brothers and sisters feel really proud of
that. We should respect that.

"So I don't think there will be any trouble."

The torch is scheduled to pass through Lhasa on June 19.

The Dalai Lama met federal Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson on Wednesday.

He is scheduled to meet Greens leader Bob Brown later Thursday.

Talks are also planned this week with Foreign Minister Stephen Smith,
Immigration Minister Chris Evans and acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

The Dalai Lama's meditation teachings are costing Australians up to
$800 for the full five-day program.
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