Dalai Lama accuses China of 'cultural genocide' | world | Hindustan Times
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Dalai Lama accuses China of 'cultural genocide'

The Dalai Lama has accused China of "cultural genocide" in Tibet, in an interview published on Tuesday in the online edition of the German political magazine Cicero.

world Updated: Dec 19, 2007 08:59 IST

The Dalai Lama has accused China of "cultural genocide" in Tibet, in an interview published on Tuesday in the online edition of the German political magazine Cicero.

Lhasa was being turned into a Chinese city "under the pretext of modernity", said the Tibetan leader, who left the capital to go into Indian exile in 1959.

Referring to the disruption in German-Chinese relations following his September meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Dalai Lama said he regretted the "unpleasantness" caused.

And he noted what he called an "interesting phenomenon" among world politicians: they tended to meet him as long as they did not hold government responsibility, but avoided him once they took office so as not to annoy Beijing.

The Dalai Lama said that while he had not been to Tibet in years, indications from refugees crossing the border to India were that Chinese ways were taking over in his country and that many Tibetans were even losing the language of their birth.

"Whether the Chinese authorities acknowledge it or not, at the moment there is a kind of cultural genocide in progress, even if Tibet is currently very fashionable in the People's Republic," he said.

"Tibet's cultural heritage is under serious threat," he said, with farmers being pushed into "model villages" in the name of modernisation.

The Dalai Lama repeated his call for autonomy for Tibet. Current contacts with Beijing were not showing any real progress in this regard, he said.