Dalai Lama: "Cultural genocide" in Tibet, world scrutiny needed

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama charged Sunday that "cultural genocide" was going on in Tibet and he called for an thorough investigation by the international community into the causes of the latest violence. ( dpa )

The Dalai Lama also said Beijing deserved to hold the 2008 Olympic Games, but added that various individuals and groups were concerned about China's human rights record and it was the moral responsibility of the international community to remind China to look into these.

" China is a most populated and cultured nation with a long history and deserves to host the Olympic Games," the Dalai Lama said.

But with regard to the violence in Lhasa, he said: "Some international organization should carry out thoroughly an investigation of the situation in Tibet and what is the cause."

Tibetans faced discrimination and were treated as second-class citizens in their own land, he said.

"The Tibetan nation faces serous danger. A cultural genocide is taking place in Tibet," he said, calling for international attention to the situation.

"The international community has a moral responsibility to remind the Chinese government that in order to be good hosts (for the Olympics), they should look seriously into these fields," he said at a a televised press conference in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala.

The Buddhist spiritual leader lives in exile in the town which is also the seat of the Central Tibet Administration, the Tibetan government-in exile. He had fled to India in 1959 after the Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.

Asked about the Chinese government's accusation that the Tibetan leader had instigated the unrest in the autonomous region, the Dalai Lama said he was happy that China had found a "scapegoat."

Local Chinese leaders were relying on the use of force to ensure peace and stability and their attitude to Tibetan Buddhism was very negative, the Dalai Lama said.

Some Chinese scholars and officials and even Tibetans following the Communist ideology were concerned about Tibet, he said.

"Using the rule of terror is foolish," the Dalai Lama said. "Genuine unity and harmony must come from the heart."

This needed to be based on a process of trust. It could not happen in an atmosphere of fear and full of suspicion, he said.

The Tibetan leader reiterated that both he and the government-in- exile did not want separation from China or independence but autonomy.

He said the Chinese officials seemed to recognize this during talks in 2006, but he found their attitude to have hardened during the next round of talks in 2007.

"Their criticism intensified and restrictions on monasteries and nunneries in Tibet increased," the Dalai Lama said.

The Dalai Lama and the Chinese government have been engaged in talks on the Tibetan issue since 2002. Six round of talks have taken place so far.

Asked about television footage of violence in Lhasa by Tibetan protestors, the Dalai Lama said: "Basically Tibetans are a peaceful nation and follow quite successfully the non-violence principle but individual emotions can go out of control, violence is possible."

He said his own principle was that of complete non-violence.

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