Page last updated at 21:28 GMT, Tuesday, 20 May 2008 22:28 UK

UK university honours Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama receiving an honorary doctorate
The Dalai Lama received an honorary doctorate for promoting global peace

The Tibetan spiritual leader has received an honorary doctorate from London Metropolitan University for "promoting peace globally".

The Dalai Lama was in London at the start of a 10-day visit to the UK.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown will not receive him at 10 Downing Street but is due to meet him with the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace on Friday.

Protests at his visit are expected from a variety of groups, with Scotland Yard having planned "appropriate" policing.

The Tibetan spiritual leader will address Parliament and give evidence on human rights to a parliamentary committee during his trip.

Territorial dispute

Demonstrators are expected to target his speech at the Albert Hall on Thursday and his meeting with Mr Brown at the end of the week.

The head of the Tibetan government-in-exile is also due to meet Conservative leader David Cameron and teach in Nottingham.

The visit, and particularly questions over where and whether he should meet Mr Brown, has proved controversial.

Supporters of the Dalai Lama will be offended at this apparent downgrading of his political status
Jill McGivering
BBC News

China and Tibet have long disagreed over the status of Tibet, and China sent troops into the region to enforce a territorial claim in 1950.

The Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile have been based in India since fleeing Tibet nine years later.

Anti-China protests led by Buddhist monks began in the capital Lhasa on 10 March this year and gradually escalated into rioting.

The demonstrations took place after the anniversary of the 1959 uprising and ahead of the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer.

China says at least 19 people were killed by the rioters, but Tibetan exiles say dozens of people were killed by the Chinese security forces as they moved to quell the unrest.

Beijing says the Dalai Lama incited the violence, which he denies and accuses the Chinese government of human rights abuses.

Dalai Lama accepts his academic honor

China says Tibet has officially been part of the Chinese nation since the mid-13th Century and so should continue to be ruled by Beijing.

Many Tibetans disagree, pointing out that the Himalayan region was an independent kingdom for many centuries, and that Chinese rule over Tibet has not been constant.

In London, worshippers of the deity Dorje Shugden are due to protest during the Dalai Lama's visit, saying they want the freedom to practise their worship.

The Dalai Lama has rejected worship of Dorje Shugden, saying it is an evil force. However, the Western Shugden Society says the worship is a 400-year-old Buddhist practice.

Another group, Avaaz, is asking activists to join a three-mile "human chain handshake" on Thursday, ending outside the Chinese Embassy, to promote dialogue between China and Tibet.




SEE ALSO
Brown planning to meet Dalai Lama
19 Mar 08 |  UK Politics
Beijing 'to talk to Dalai aides'
25 Apr 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Q&A: China and Tibet
07 Apr 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: The Dalai Lama
20 May 08 |  Asia-Pacific

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