Beijing Olympics should go on: Dalai Lama | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Beijing Olympics should go on: Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama firmly backs the Beijing Olympics despite the Chinese crackdown on Tibetan protesters that prompted demands for boycott of the games.

delhi Updated: Mar 23, 2008 20:41 IST

The Dalai Lama on Sunday firmly backed the Beijing Olympics despite the Chinese crackdown on Tibetan protesters that prompted demands for boycott of the games.

"I have always supported that Olympic Games should take place in China," he told reporters in New Delhi, terming as "baseless" the
communist giant's charge that he was trying to "sabotage" the premier sporting event slated for August.

"They are the hosts. The Olympics should take place in Beijing," 72-year-old the Tibetan spiritual leader who heads the Tibetan government in exile and was here in connection with a religious workshop, said.

His comments came as the Chinese government continued its vitriolic attack on the monk accusing him of holding the games "hostage" to force it to yield on the issue of Tibetan independence, plotting "terror" in Tibet and colluding with Islamic Uygur separatists in Xinjiang in northwest China.

China is struggling to the crush most vicious protest against its rule in Tibet in two decades which brought it under international scrutiny ahead of the Olympics through which it had intended to showcase its phenomenal development.

Rights activists and Tibetan protesters have been demanding a boycott of the games. International pressure on Beijing to hold dialogue with the Dalai Lama ahead of the Olympics mounted with European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering saying a boycott was "justified" if China shunned such talks.

"Beijing must decide. It must negotiate with the Dalai Lama immediately," he told the mass circulation Bild daily.

"We should not exclude the possibility of a boycott of the Beijing Olympics. We want a successful Games, but not at the price of cultural genocide," he said.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also called on China to be open about the situation in Tibet saying window-dressing for television was no longer doing it for the outside world "when chaos is reigning in the backyard."

"The (German) government is telling the Chinese very clearly: make sure that there is transparency! We want to know exactly what is happening in Tibet," Steinmeier told the daily.

"China is hurting itself if it stops foreign observers from getting an idea of the situation."

"He who organises Olympic Games today must let thousands of journalists into the country," he added. "Nothing can be hidden."
China has sealed off Tibet from foreign reporters and tourists, while releasing images and television footage of violence allegedly carried out by Tibetans.

Relations between Germany and China cooled last September after Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the Dalai Lama.

Tibetans have been holding marches in Dharamshala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, and elsewhere in India demanding boycott of Beijing Olympics slated to be held in August.

In an article in The Liberation Army Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese army, today said "In 2008, all the world's people are looking forward to the Olympics.