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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?"

Jet Li says China, Tibet should be unified

December 14, 2007

Economic Times
13 Dec, 2007

HONG KONG: Jet Li, a prominent follower of Tibetan Buddhism, says he has
met with the Dalai Lama and respects his teachings but believes that
Tibet and China are part of one country.

The 44-year-old action star also said at a taping of an interview for
CNN's ``Talk Asia'' in Hong Kong late Wednesday that Taiwan and China
should be unified.

``From the religious point of view, he's the master,'' Li said of the
Dalai Lama, adding that when he met him in 2000 he told the spiritual
leader that he backed having the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

China was bidding for the Olympics at the time and there was some
opposition to the bid.

``They (the Chinese) just want to show a wonderful party, the Olympics,
to the world,'' he said.

``Lots of famous guys ... they are my (spiritual) teachers. But it
doesn't mean I agree with their politics,'' Li said without specifically
naming anyone.

He said he believes China, Tibet, as well as the self-ruled island
Taiwan, should be ``unified together.''

China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949, but Beijing still views
the self-ruled island as its territory and has threatened to retake it
by force.

Chinese Communist troops occupied Tibet in 1951 and Beijing continues to
rule the region with a heavy hand. Beijing enforces strict controls on
religious institutions and routinely vilifies the 71-year-old Dalai
Lama, who fled to India in 1959 amid an aborted uprising against Chinese

China says it has ruled Tibet for centuries, although many Tibetans say
their homeland was essentially an independent state for most of that time.

Beijing has also long insisted it helped Tibetans by ending the Dalai
Lama's rule, which Chinese officials often deride as ``feudal.''

The Dalai Lama has called for China to give Tibet full autonomy. Li, a
major star in his native China, said he hasn't run into trouble with the
Chinese government for his meeting with the Dalai Lama.

Li says on his official Web site that Tibetan Buddhism, ``has inspired
me and accelerated my understanding of life.''

On the Tibet question, he says on his Web site, ``national borders and
ethnic questions are political, not religious questions'' and that
``issues concerning the Chinese government and Tibet are that of an
administering country managing an internal situation.''

Activists who monitor the situation in Tibet didn't immediately respond
to e-mails from The Associated Press seeking comment on Li's statements.

Asked in Wednesday's interview to name the keys of his success, Li named
his parents, his fans _ and the Chinese government for selecting him to
perform in kung fu demonstrations abroad when he was young.

``I truly appreciate the country for teaching me martial arts and giving
me the opportunity to represent China around the world. I learned
everything to build up my career,'' he said.

Li was a national champion in kung fu in China and performed for U.S.
President Richard Nixon at the White House's Rose Garden in 1974,
according to Li's Web site.

He made his name in Hong Kong movies before moving on to Hollywood,
where his credits include ``Lethal Weapon 4,'' ``Romeo Must Die'' and
``Cradle 2 the Grave.''
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