Jun 14, 2008

Tibet: Australian Senator Meets Dalai Lama

Active ImageAustralia's Senator Chris Evans met with the Dalai Lama, ignoring requests from China to avoid showing support for the Tibetan spiritual leader.

Below is an article written by Michael Heath published by Bloomberg:

Australia's acting leader Senator Chris Evans met with the Dalai Lama, ignoring requests from China to avoid showing support for the Tibetan spiritual leader who it accuses of fomenting unrest in the Himalayan region. 

Evans held talks with the Dalai Lama in Sydney today [13 June 2008], standing in for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who is in Indonesia. The Dalai Lama provided his perspective on events in Tibet and his interest in talks with China in the lead up to the Beijing Olympic Games, Evans said in a statement. 

China, Australia's biggest trading partner, sees meetings between foreign governments and the Dalai Lama as interference in its internal affairs. Protests against Chinese rule broke out in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, March 10 [2008], prompting a crackdown by security forces that brought international condemnation. 

``We hope the Australian government will take measures to prevent Australia's territories from being used as a premise for the Dalai Lama's splittist activities,'' Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in Beijing yesterday. ``We are opposed to any of the Dalai Lama's attempts to undertake activities in any other country to split Tibet from China. 

The Dalai Lama says he is seeking autonomy, not independence, for Tibet. The Buddhist monk, who arrived in Sydney two days ago to conduct meditation seminars, said he is hoping for a breakthrough in negotiations with China that would allow him to return to Tibet, which he fled almost 50 years ago.

He said he expects formal talks between his envoys and the Chinese to resume by the end of this month or early in July [2008]. 

`Harmonious Society' 

``President Hu Jintao very much emphasizes harmonious society. We fully support that,'' the Dalai Lama said yesterday [12 June 2008]. ``Tibetans retain their unhappiness at Chinese pressure on their culture and religion. Generations change, but the resentment remains, from parent to children to grandchildren.'' 

The unrest in Tibet three months ago began when Buddhist monks marched in Lhasa calling for an end to religious restrictions and the release of imprisoned colleagues. The demonstration, which began March 10 [2008], marked the anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, after which the Dalai Lama fled to India. 

Tibet's government-in-exile based in Dharamshala, northern India, said on the three-month anniversary of the unrest that 209 people were killed in a crackdown by security forces. China says rioters killed 18 civilians and one police officer in Lhasa on March 14 [2008].