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Dalai Lama Honored in Washington With Human Rights Award

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Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama was honored by U. S. lawmakers with a human rights award on Tuesday. But for the first time since 1991, the Dalai Lama will not meet with the sitting president of the United States.

The Dalai Lama received a warm reception and the first Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize from U.S. lawmakers.

The medal, in memory of the late Congressman and longtime human rights activist, honored Tibet's exiled spiritual leader for his achievements.

Accepting the award, the Dalai Lama said he will continue to champion human rights.

"Although now I am 74-years-old, the rest of my life I dedicate for the promotion of human values, emotional human affection, human compassion, equality and basic human rights in Tibet or in mainland China or everywhere," he said.

House of Representatives speaker Nancy Polosi praised the Dalai Lama's work in pressing China to improve its human rights record.

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"Unless we speak out for human rights in China and in Tibet we loose all moral authority to talk about human rights anywhere in the world," she said.

But President Obama has decided to postpone his meeting with the Dalai Lama.

The spiritual leader's representatives were informed last month that the president would not meet with him until after Mr. Obama's first official trip to Beijing, scheduled for November.

Meanwhile, Tibetan exiles living in northern India protested against the 60th anniversary of China's communist takeover. The demonstrators want China to stop what they called decades of violence and oppression of Tibet.

TENZIN (ACTIVIST): "Over the last 60 years the Chinese not only illegally occupied Tibet, they also violated human rights. They [people in Tibet] has no rights of freedom, no rights of the freedom movement, they have no freedom [of] the religious movement."

Beijing accuses the Buddhist leader of being a separatist.

During Mr. Obama's meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao in April, the Chinese leader repeated Beijing's demand that no foreign officials meet with the Dalai Lama.

Political analysts say a White House visit now would cast a shadow over talks next month between Mr. Obama and Mr. Hu. The US administration is seeking greater cooperation with China on foreign policy, the global economy and the environment.