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Dalai Lama calls for calm as Torch heads to Tibet

Asserting his full support to the Beijing Olympics, the Tibetan spiritual leader appeals for trouble-free torch relay as it passes through the capital Lhasa next week.

world Updated: Jun 12, 2008 10:33 IST

The Dalai Lama on Thursday appealed to Tibetans not to disturb the Olympic torch relay as it passes through the capital Lhasa next week, saying he fully supports the Beijing Olympics.

"We have fully supported the Olympic Games right from the beginning and the torch is part of that. Over one billion Chinese brothers and sisters feel really proud of that. We should respect that. So, I don't think there will be any trouble," he was quoted saying in The Australian on Thursday.

The Dalai Lama, who is on a five-day visit to Australia, has met with federal Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson and will have talks with federal government ministers later this week.

On Wednesday after arriving in Sydney, the Dalai Lama expressed his hopes of a breakthrough in negotiations with China that could allow him return to Tibet.

He said he expected formal talks between his envoys and the Chinese to resume by the end of the month or in early July.

"Tibetans retained their unhappiness at the Chinese pressure on their culture and religion. Generations change, but the resentment remains, from parent, to children, to grandchildren," he said, adding "Now I think the Chinese Government begins to feel something goes wrong, in spite of putting lots of money, billions of yuan [into developing Tibet]."

The Dalai Lama's arrival in Sydney was met with protests by an alternative Buddhist group, the Western Shugden Society, which claims he has persecuted them for their worship of an ancient Buddhist writer. The Tibetan leader also held a teaching session at Olympic Park, covering Buddhist philosophy, questions of objectivity and subjectivity, and a passionate defence of Islam.