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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 starts US visit

April 27, 2009

April 23, 2009

LOS ANGELES (AFP) -- Tibet's exiled spiritual
leader the Dalai Lama on Thursday arrived in the
United States for a week of public talks as
Beijing pressured President Barack Obama to shun him.

The Nobel Peace laureate started his visit in
California, where on Friday he is to give
lectures in Santa Barbara on ethics and the
nature of the mind, said Tenzin Dickyi of the Dalai Lama's New York office.

The Dalai Lama will also visit New York and
Boston, where he is to dedicate a center on
ethical research named after him at the
prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He is not scheduled to visit Washington or meet
with US officials, although his supporters are
hoping he will visit the US capital later this year.

China, which has stepped up its campaign to
isolate the Buddhist monk, has already urged Obama not to meet with him.

"We have made representations to the US urging
the US to honor its commitments and not allow the
Dalai to engage in separatist activities in the
US," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said earlier Thursday.

China accuses the Dalai Lama of separatism,
despite his frequent statements that he is only
seeking greater autonomy for Tibetans within China.

In Tokyo on Wednesday, the Dalai Lama accused
China of "acting like a child" in cracking down
on Tibetans and other minorities, saying it
lacked the moral authority of a genuine superpower.

Every US president has met the Dalai Lama winner
since George H.W. Bush in 1991 and analysts in
Washington believe it is unlikely Obama would
shun the spiritual leader, who enjoys a wide following in the United States.

But Obama has also said that he wants a broad
relationship with China, including cooperation
with the growing Asian power on the global economic crisis.

Ahead of a visit to China in February, his
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the
United States would not let human rights concerns
get in the way of bilateral cooperation on the economy and climate change.

In October 2007, then president George W. Bush
defied repeated warnings from China and awarded
the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal --
the highest US civilian honor -- at the US Capitol.

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since
1959, when China crushed an abortive uprising in Lhasa.
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