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Dalai Lama appeals to world for 'help'

Latest update : 2008-03-30

The Tibetan leader appealed for international help in resolving the crisis in his homeland, adding that Tibetans need "full guarantees concerning the protection of their unique culture." (Report: M. Kerfriden, T. Grucza)

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Saturday appealed to the world community to "please help" resolve the crisis in his homeland that has been rocked by deadly anti-Chinese protests.
"We have no power except justice, truth, sincerity... that is why I appeal to the world community to please help," the Buddhist icon told a news conference in the Indian capital, where he was conducting meditation sessions.
"I am here helpless, I just pray," said the exiled spiritual leader two weeks after anti-Chinese protests in the Himalayan region turned deadly,  leading to calls for a boycott of the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games.
The Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 from Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, reiterated he wanted a dialogue with China's leaders to end the unrest in Tibet, saying "my side is open... we are waiting."
His appeal for world help came a day after US President George W. Bush for the first time publicly pressed China to hold talks with representatives of the spiritual leader after raising concerns about the bloody turmoil in Tibet.
The Dalai Lama said he appreciated "the genuine concern and genuine interest" in seeking a solution to the unrest and welcomed Beijing's move to allow journalists access to the riot-torn capital Lhasa.
But he said neutral observers needed to be allowed to go to remote areas as well, where deadly violence has also been reported.
He repeated his denials of Chinese charges that he was seeking independence for Tibet, saying only that he wanted "meaningful autonomy."
Tibetans needed "full guarantees about (protection) of our unique culture including language," said the Dalai Lama, who makes his home in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamshala, also the seat of Tibet's exiled government.
"We are fully committed to the 'middle approach,'" he said, referring to his calls for autonomy and not full independence. "As soon as some degree of freedom comes we will all return happily to our country."
But he added "expressions of frustrations are increasing" and renewed charges of "cultural genocide" with the flooding of Tibet by Han Chinese.
Beijing says rioters killed 18 innocent civilians and two police officers.
But exiled Tibetan leaders have put the death toll from a Chinese crackdown at about 140 Tibetans. They say another 1,000 people have been injured and many detained.

Date created : 2008-03-29