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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 May, 2004, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Royal reception for Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama will also meet Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
Prince Charles will meet the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at St James's Palace on Thursday.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner has been invited to a reception at the London royal residence with Tibetan community members.

A spokeswoman said the prince's support for the Dalai Lama was well known.

"For many years, he has been concerned about the situation of the people of Tibet and has been impressed by the Dalai Lama's efforts to seek a peaceful resolution."

Royal concern

Around 50 Tibetans who live in Britain will attend the evening reception along with members of groups such as The Tibet Society and the Free Tibet Campaign.

The Office of Tibet in London welcomed the event as "very encouraging".

Charles has met the Dalai Lama twice before. In 1991 they discussed China-Tibet relations at a London conference.

During his UK visit the Dalai will also meet Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and visit Liverpool, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Tony Blair, who received Chinese premier Wen Jiabao two weeks ago, will not meet the Dalai Lama.

Downing Street said "diary pressures" were the reason why the prime minister will not meet him.

Small groups of demonstrators protesting about China's occupation of Tibet and its human rights record marked the Chinese premier's visit.

Chinese repression

Since China invaded Tibet in 1950 an estimated 1.2m people are said to have been killed.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959. He went to Dharamsala in northern India and established a government in exile.

China has been accused of trying to wipe out the Buddhist-based culture through political and religious repression.

It recently called on the Dalai to abandon his vision of ever achieving an autonomous Tibet.

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