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Dalai Lama Says China Has Imposed 'Death Sentence' on Tibet


Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has accused China of imposing a "death sentence" on Tibet.

The Dalai Lama made the comments after arriving in Paris Friday, saying he believes Tibet's heritage and culture are in jeopardy.

A representative of the Tibetan government-in-exile (Tashi Wangdu) told VOA from Brussels that the Dalai Lama also is concerned about the large migration of ethnic Chinese into Tibet.

The Nobel peace prize winner is in France to receive an honorary citizenship from the city of Paris. The Paris city council voted to give him the honor last April following China's crackdown on a wave of anti-government protests in Tibet.

China warned Paris last month against bestowing the award. Relations between China and France deteriorated sharply last December following a meeting in Poland between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Dalai Lama.

Beijing claims that the Dalai Lama seeks independence for Tibet, while the Dalai Lama says he only wants autonomy for the region.

France is the final leg of the Dalai Lama's tour of Europe, which has already taken him to Denmark, Iceland and the Netherlands.

While in the Hague, the Dalai Lama visited the Dutch parliament, where he urged the international community to investigate the situation in Tibet and push China to end fear and oppression there.

Although Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende declined to see the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader did meet last week with Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, provoking an angry response from China.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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