The Dalai Lama has urged the world community to accept China into its
ranks while staying firm on issues of human rights and democracy. The Tibetan
spiritual leader spoke during a visit to France. Lisa Bryant reports for VOA
Speaking at a news conference in
Paris Wednesday, the Dalai Lama said China's eagerness to join the international
community was welcome.
"Right from the beginning I have always believed
and also expressed, the People's Republic of China, the most populated nation,
very important, so [the international community] should not isolate China, must
bring [it] into the mainstream of the world community," he said.
Dalai Lama's remarks come near the start of a 12-day trip to France that will
largely be devoted to visiting temples and meeting with his supporters. But the
visit is fraught with controversy, as it coincides with the Olympics in Beijing.
China has accused him of wanting to sabotage the Olympic games.
Lama's remarks were carefully tempered Wednesday. He said China deserved to host
the Olympics, but he also said "Beijing still hides" on the question of Tibet,
which he called a sign of weakness. And he called on the world community to hold
China to task on matters of democracy and human rights.
principles such as democracy, human rights, religious freedom, rule of law, in
these principle matters you should be firm," said the Tibetan spiritual
Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama of seeking independence for
Tibet but the Dalai Lama says he only wants autonomy and religious freedom for
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been criticized for not
meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader during his visit here although his
office says the two will meet later this year.
The Dalai Lama also met
with French lawmakers Wednesday, in one of the few political events of his trip.
France's foreign minister and human rights minister have both said they want to
meet with him, but no meetings have been scheduled to date. First lady Carla
Bruni Sarkozy will attend a ceremony next week where the Dalai Lama is to
inaugurate a Buddhist temple.