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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?"

China handing down 'death sentence' to Tibetans: Dalai Lama

November 4, 2008

November 2, 2008

TOKYO (AFP) - Chinese rule is handing down a "death sentence" to 
Tibetans, the Dalai Lama said Sunday, ahead of a meeting to decide 
Tibet's future approach to Beijing.

The region's exiled leader is on a week-long visit to Japan for talks 
on spirituality, just as a new round of talks between his envoys and 
Chinese officials was set to begin, and days after he said he had lost 
hope of any productive dialogue with Beijing.

"Tibetans are being handed down a death sentence. This ancient nation, 
with an ancient cultural heritage is dying," he told a group of 
reporters.

"Today, the situation is almost like a military occupation in the 
entire Tibetan area.

"It is like we're under martial law. Fear, terror and lots of 
political education are causing a lot of grievance," he added.

The 73-year old Nobel Peace laureate said he was "semi-retiring" 
because of stalled talks with Beijing, and said he would convene a 
meeting on November 17 to discuss Tibet's future approach to dealing 
with China.

"We will listen to the people's suggestions, and then I think things 
will become clear," he said.

"I don't think I will completely retire, but for the time being while 
dealing with the Chinese central government, I can no longer take full 
direct responsibility. My position is completely neutral," he said.

"Because we believe in democratic principles, the people should 
express their real feelings. I should not be hindering their opinions."

The Dalai Lama, who has lived in India since fleeing Tibet in 1959, is 
a frequent visitor to Japan, where he enjoys an active following.

During his stay, he is scheduled to give speeches arranged by a 
Japanese Buddhist group and Tibetan supporters. He will also visit 
children and monks.

China accuses the Dalai Lama of trying to split Tibet from Beijing 
through his travels overseas.

The Dalai Lama's stated position has been one of seeking meaningful 
autonomy for Tibet within China. However, last weekend he said he had 
all but given up hope of reaching a mutually acceptable solution.
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