Dalai Lama tells China: I'm no demon
The Dalai Lama, starting his first foreign trip since unrest broke out in Tibet, on Thursday renewed support for the Beijing Olympics and appealed to China not to brand him as a demon.
Tibet's exiled spiritual leader also said he personally urged the Tibetan community to respect the Olympic torch relay in San Francisco, where a major security presence prevented some of the chaos seen in London and Paris.
The Dalai Lama, meeting reporters on a brief stopover in Japan on his way to the United States, jokingly put his fingers over his head in the shape of a devil.
"I really feel sad the government there almost demonises me. But it's OK," the Dalai Lama said of China. "I'm just a human being
- hopefully not a demon."
"Some people create (the) impression we are anti-Chinese. So I make an appeal to Chinese brothers and sisters all over the world, particularly in mainland China -- firstly we are not anti-Chinese."
Tibet last month saw the biggest protests in years against China's controversial rule on the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising that sent the Dalai Lama fleeing into exile in India.
Beijing has accused the Nobel peace laureate of instigating the deadly violence and of seeking to split the predominantly Buddhist Himalayan territory from China.
The Dalai Lama repeated today that he is seeking Tibetan autonomy and cultural freedoms within China -- and that he supports the right of Beijing to host the Olympics.
"I support the Chinese host for the world game because China is the most populous nation, ancient nation," the Dalai Lama said.