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Dalai Lama slams 'repressive' China

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader has criticised China's shooting of unarmed Tibetans fleeing into Nepal.

india Updated: Nov 14, 2006 14:09 IST

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has criticised China's shooting of unarmed Tibetans fleeing into Nepal but called for dialogue to resolve problems, a newspaper said on Tuesday.

Video footage released last month showed Chinese troops firing at Tibetan refugees as they fled through the mountains, killing a nun.

The Dalai Lama said such incidents remained commonplace despite five rounds of talks since 2002 between his envoys and China, which sent troops into the Buddhist Himalayan region in 1950.

"Most of the policies in the Tibet Autonomous Region are repressive toward Tibetans even after the fifth round of talks," the Dalai Lama told Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper during a visit to Tokyo.

"The killing of Tibetans by Chinese authorities is a matter of common practice," he was quoted as saying about last month's internationally condemned incident.

But the Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent criticism of China, said he supported dialogue with Beijing.

"There was forward-looking progress" in the fifth round of talks, he said. "We were able to hold a frank dialogue."

Footage aired on Romanian television last month depicts a line of Tibetans walking through the snow before a shot is heard and a person in the group falls to the ground.

China's official media said troops fired in self-defense, an assertion disputed by foreign climbers who witnessed the incident.

Around 2,500 Tibetans a year make a dangerous trip across the Himalayas into Nepal, despite the risks posed by Chinese troops and the elements.

Many of the refugees head on to India where the Dalai Lama has lived in exile since 1959.

The Dalai Lama spent two weeks in Japan delivering lectures and taking part in Buddhist rites.

Beijing opposes his travels overseas, accusing him of being a "splittist," although the Dalai Lama says he is seeking greater autonomy for Tibet within China.

First Published: Nov 14, 2006 14:09 IST