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Dalai Lama says feels 'love' for China

world Updated: Feb 23, 2010 09:13 IST

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said he feels love in his heart for China, despite his concerns about Beijing's cultural "suppression" in his homeland.

"Certainly. We have to practice that," the Buddhist monk said in an interview broadcast on Monday with CNN talk-show host Larry King, who asked him if he loves the Chinese.

"Sometimes you see some of these hardliners' sort of policy, brutalist policy, sometimes I got some irritation for short moment," he acknowledged.

"Still, yes, I have to sort of make effort to keep love," he said in English.

The Tibetan spiritual leader fled Tibet in 1959 as China crushed an abortive uprising against its rule in the Himalayan territory. He has since lived in India and built a global following, despite China's attempts to isolate him.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate met on Thursday at the White House with President Barack Obama, leading China to summon the US ambassador in Beijing to protest.

Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of being a separatist. But the Dalai Lama repeated he is not seeking independence but greater autonomy for Tibetans within Chinese rule.

"We do not want separation from China because Tibet -- landlocked country, materially backward. Every Tibetan wants modernized Tibet so for that reason remain within the People's Republic of China is our own interest," he said.

But he said Tibetans had complaints about Chinese policies, including on religious freedom and the environment.

"The Chinese government denies there is a sort of problem. They say Tibetans -- very happy, prosperity, very much better than previous Tibet," he said.

"But we received information from some inside... on cultural side, or religious ... so much suppression and control, restriction," he said.