Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pro-China demonstration at Dalai Lama event in Seattle By MANUEL VALDES

SEATTLE - In a show of pro-Chinese support, several hundred demonstrators protested Monday outside the college basketball arena where the Dalai Lama spoke.

Thousands of people have flocked to see the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader since he arrived last week for a five-day conference on compassion, but Seattle's large Chinese community had remained largely silent until Monday.

Inside the arena, the Dalai Lama received an honorary degree from the University of Washington and spoke to students on using dialogue to solve problems. He thanked the UW for giving him a degree without any studying.

While his visit to the United States has been billed as nonpolitical, he is expected to meet with a senior U.S. official next week.

The State Department said Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky and the Dalai Lama will talk next Monday in Michigan. Dobriansky serves as special envoy for Tibet.

Recent demonstrations against five decades of Chinese rule are the largest and most sustained among Tibetans in almost two decades. The unrest has led to loud protests that have been following the Olympic torch's passage to Beijing.

The Dalai Lama addressed the Tibetan situation Sunday, telling reporters at a news conference that Tibet cannot make any more concessions to China. He renewed his calls for the Chinese government to withdraw troops from his homeland.

He denied Chinese claims that he has called for Tibet to be split from China and that he is behind recent turmoil, saying instead that he is committed to pursuing Tibet's right to autonomy.

Outside the arena on Monday, pro-Chinese demonstrators held signs criticizing what they called media bias, and protesting the violence from rioting Tibetan monks.

Signs called the Dalai Lama a liar and a "CIA-funded militant." Many waved large Chinese flags. It was, however, a peaceful more

No comments: