Dalai Lama in US to discuss Tibet

Updated on Apr 20, 2008 09:32 PM IST

"Demonstration is a way of expressing what you are feeling," the Dalai Lama told reporters in Ann Arbor, ahead of the meeting.

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PTI | BySridhar Krishnaswami, Washington

Ahead of his key meeting with a top Bush administration official on the vexed Tibet issue, the Dalai Lama said he understood the sentiments of those protesting the Beijing Olympics to draw the world's attention to China's human rights record.

The 72-year-old exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, on his first Trip to the United States after the recent upheaval in Tibet, is scheduled to meet Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky in Michigan on Monday.

The meeting will be the 11th such between the Dalai Lama and Dobriansky, also Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. However, the meeting is not expected to put forth any new initiatives to resolve the Tibet issue, the US State Department said last week.

"They (Dobriansky and the Dalai Lama) are going to be talking about our view that the Chinese authorities ought to engage in a discussion with the Dalai Lama," State Department's Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey said.

US President George W Bush has expressed concern over the Chinese crackdown in Tibet. At the same time, he has pressed his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao to open talks with the Dalai Lama to find a solution to the Tibet issue.

After spending five days in Seattle, the Tibetan spiritual leader arrived at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and his theme for the first lecture was on "Engaging Wisdom and Compassion".

The Dalai Lama said he understood the sentiments of those protesting the August 8-24 Olympics in Beijing to draw attention to China's human rights record.

The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner also said he was sorry to see some of the demonstrations led to violence and restated his backing for the Beijing Games.

"Demonstration is a way of expressing what you are feeling," the Dalai Lama told reporters in Ann Arbor. "In a purely nonviolent way, that demonstration is right," US media reports quoted the monk as saying.

His comments follow sporadic reports of unrest in Tibet as well as Tibetan-inhabited areas of western China. Moreover, protests have marred the Olympic torch's torturous passage to Beijing. In London, Paris and San Francisco, the torch rally was disrupted by anti-China protests by Tibetan and human rights activists.

Chinese police recently detained dozens of ethnic Tibetans in western Qinghai province, media reports said. The latest crackdown began after monks demanded the release of a fellow clergyman, an activist group said.

The Dalai Lama, who fled to India after a failed uprising in 1959 in Tibet, started his US visit in Seattle last week for a five-day conference on compassion.

China has accused the Dalai Lama of being the 'mastermind' in the Tibetan uprising, but he has denied those charges. The Dalai Lama is scheduled to speak at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, on Tuesday.

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