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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 to visit Japan; no meetings with top officials

November 13, 2007

The Associated Press
Monday, November 12, 2007

TOKYO: The Dalai Lama will visit Japan this week, organizers said
Monday, despite China's protests over other trips overseas by the
Tibetan religious leader.

But top government officials are not expected to meet with the
72-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate during a nine-day trip starting
Thursday, according to the Foreign Ministry.

The monk was instead slated to attend a Buddhist conference in Yokohama,
just west of Tokyo, give a speech at a university in the western city of
Ise and visit a high school in the capital, according to a statement
released by organizers of his visit on Monday.

Though lauded in much of the world as a figure of moral authority,
Beijing demonizes the Buddhist monk and says he seeks to destroy China's
sovereignty by pushing for independence for Tibet.

China has ruled mountainous Tibet with a heavy hand since its
Communist-led forces invaded in 1951.

The Dalai Lama, who lives with followers in exile in India, says he
wants "real autonomy" for Tibet, not independence. Still, Beijing has
routinely criticized his frequent visits abroad, saying foreign
governments are interfering in its internal affairs by hosting him.

The religious leader's recent meetings with Canadian Prime Minister
Stephen Harper, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President
George W. Bush have drawn rebukes from Chinese officials.

Japan, meanwhile, has been trying to heal frayed relations with its
communist neighbor. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a
fence-mending visit to Japan's former World War II enemy last year, and
Chinese premier Wen Jiabao reciprocated with a visit in April.
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