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World must bring China into democratic fold: Dalai Lama

China protests meeting between Dalai Lama and Polish president
China took aim Thursday at Poland after its president met the Dalai Lama, warning that bilateral relations were at risk of being harmed amid a similar row with France. "We have raised solemn representations with the Polish side and expressed our strong dissatisfaction," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said of the Dalai Lama's meeting on Wednesday with Polish President Lech Kaczynski. "We urged the Polish side to do nothing to harm or undermine China-Polish relations or to create obstacles for the relationship and not to harm China's core interests." China had issued even sterner warnings to France before and after French President Nicolas Sarkozy, current holder of the EU presidency, met the Dalai Lama in Gdansk, northern Poland, on Saturday. Beijing said that meeting had seriously harmed China's ties with France and Europe. The Dalai Lama had been invited to Gdansk by Lech Walesa to mark 25 years since the Polish anti-communist icon received the Nobel Peace Prize as leader of Poland's freedom-fighting Solidarity trade union. China argues that the Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, wants full independence for Tibet, a claim which he has called "totally baseless". He has lived in exile in India since fleeing his homeland after a failed uprising in 1959 against Chinese rule. China has ruled Tibet since 1951, after sending troops in to "liberate" the Himalayan region the previous year.
by Staff Writers
Warsaw (AFP) Dec 11, 2008
Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama called on the world community to bring China into the democratic mainstream, in a speech to Polish deputies Thursday.

"The free world has moral responsibility to bring China into the mainstream of world democracy. That is very essential, very important," the Dalai Lama told members of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee.

"My faith is thinner, thinner, thinner in (the) Chinese government, but my faith in (the) Chinese people is never shaken," he said, stressing he also hoped for "more openness" under China's current President Hu Jintao.

"The world community... should not isolate China -- China must be brought into the mainstream of the world community."

The Dalai Lama, who was speaking during an official visit to the Polish parliament, also called on the parliaments of Poland and other European Union states to champion the cause of civil right for Tibetans within China.

"Your influence and your persuasion is very, very important since our dialogue with the Chinese government is... faltering," he said.

On Thursday, China warned Poland that bilateral relations were at risk of being harmed, a day after President Lech Kaczynski met the Dalai Lama here.

A similar row erupted between Beijing and Paris after French President Nicolas Sarkozy met the Dalai Lama Saturday in Gdansk, northern Poland.

Apparently unfazed by Beijing's latest protest, the Dalai Lama told reporters Thursday: "It is now routine -- where I go, there is some special blessing from Chinese side."

The Dalai Lama is currently in Poland on an eight-day visit ending Friday at the invitation of Senate Speaker Bogdan Borusewicz and Poland's Solidarity hero and ex-president Lech Walesa.

A fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Walesa invited the Dalai Lama to Poland's Baltic Sea port city of Gdansk for weekend ceremonies marking 25 years since he received the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Polish anti-communist icon was honoured as the leader of Poland's Solidarity trade union.

China argues that the Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, wants full independence for Tibet. He has dismissed this claim as "totally baseless" saying he wants autonomy for his homeland within China.

Now 73, the Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since fleeing his homeland after a failed uprising in 1959 against Chinese rule.

China has ruled Tibet since 1951, after invading the Himalayan region the previous year.

earlier related report
Police stay mum on arrest of leading China dissident: lawyer
Chinese police have failed to inform the family of leading political activist Liu Xiaobo on the reasons for his arrest, his lawyer said Thursday as intellectuals in China called for his release.

"The police must notify the family of the reasons for detention within 24 hours," lawyer Mo Shaoping told AFP.

"It has been nearly three days since they arrested him so (the police) are violating the law."

Liu, 53, a prominent intellectual and political activist, was taken from his home by police Monday after he signed a petition, "Charter 08", calling for major reforms to China's one-party communist rule.

Beijing police were not available to comment on Thursday about Liu's arrest.

Since his disappearance, more than 1,200 Chinese intellectuals have signed another online petition calling for Liu's immediate release, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said.

"The arrest of Liu Xiaobo has resulted in extreme anger from reform-leaning intellectuals," the centre said in a statement.

"If the (authorities) step up their measures against Liu Xiaobo, there will certainly be an extremely large backlash by intellectuals."

Mo said he was aware of the online calls for the release of Liu, but did not sign it due to his position as his defence lawyer.

Many of the more than 300 academics, rights activists and political dissidents who signed the "Charter 08" also signed the online call for his release, Mo said.

The charter, modeled after Charter 77 issued by Czech political dissidents in 1977, called for greater human rights protections, free elections and an end to the Communist Party's dominance of the military, courts and government.

The Charter was issued for the 60th anniversary of the signing of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It also comes ahead of sensitive anniversaries next year, including the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square democracy protests and the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

Liu, a doctor of literature from Beijing Normal University, served 20 months in prison for his role in the Tiananmen protests and has been under police surveillance, in labour camps or house arrest for much of the time since.

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Analysis: Greek riots set to last
Berlin (UPI) Dec 9, 2008
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