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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 begins visit to France

August 14, 2008

August 12, 2008

The Dalai Lama has begun as 12-day visit to France by blessing a
Buddhist institute on the edge of Paris.

The exiled spiritual Tibetan leader will spend most of the duration
of the Olympics in France.

Plans to meet President Nicolas Sarkozy were dropped, though the
Dalai Lama will meet lawmakers on Wednesday.

Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama of stirring up unrest in Tibet and
warned Mr Sarkozy of "serious consequences" if he met him.

Members of the Buddhist leader's entourage said any plans for a
meeting were shelved to avoid damage to talks between Tibetan and
Chinese parties, according to AFP.

The French president is trying to repair ties with China, damaged by
his initial threat to boycott the opening of the Olympic Games and a
series of pro-Tibet protests as the torch passed through the French capital.

Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama of fomenting unrest in Tibet but
last week the 1989 Nobel peace prize-winner sent a message offering
good wishes to the Chinese people ahead of the games.

Later on Tuesday, the Dalai Lama is due to bless a statue of Buddha
in the Paris suburb of Evry, built by worshippers of Vietnamese heritage.

The Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 amid an uprising against
the Chinese military, has said he only wants limited autonomy for his
homeland, but China accuses him of wanting independence for Tibet.
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