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

UK 'not doing enough over Tibet'

The Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama has been answering MPs' questions on human rights

Britain is not doing enough to help the Tibetan people in their human rights struggle, the Dalai Lama has told MPs.

Speaking on the eve of talks with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, he said his people were facing a form of "cultural genocide" at the hands of China.

But the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader acknowledged there were "limitations" on what foreign governments could do.

He said he would raise China's refusal to ratify the UN charter on civil and political rights with Mr Brown.

Addressing the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, he played down the controversy over Mr Brown's decision to meet him at the Archbishop of Canterbury's residence at Lambeth Palace rather than in Downing Street.

'Nice on paper'

But asked if Britain was doing enough to support the Tibetans, he replied: "I think not enough."

Hopefully now [China's reaction to the earthquake will] lead to a more transparent attitude in other fields, including the Tibet case
Dalai Lama

Answering questions on human rights, the Dalai Lama said he thought international observers should be allowed to monitor China's actions in Tibet so as to ensure its proclaimed policies were put into practice.

Answering MPs' questions on human rights in Tibet, he said Chinese policies guaranteeing basic freedoms for Tibetans looked "very nice" on paper.

He added: "If this was actually implemented on the spot, then [there would be] no reason to complain.

"But there is always huge gap. On paper, what is stated and actions and practice on the spot. In reality, always is this gap."

Earlier, the Dalai Lama told the BBC he believed China was changing through "wider contact with outside world".

'Middle way'

He said China's reaction to the devastating earthquake in Sichuan province showed the direction it was moving, saying: "This I think [is] one sign that the People's Republic of China is changing, I think at least decade by decade.

"Hopefully now [this will] lead to a more transparent attitude in other fields, including the Tibet case."

The Dalai Lama said he wanted a "middle way" of autonomy, despite calls for independence among Tibetans.

But he warned of growing frustration if there was "no improvement".

The Chinese government has accused the Dalai Lama of being behind anti-China protests that began in Tibet's main city, Lhasa, on 10 March, and escalated into deadly rioting.

The Dalai Lama denies inciting any protests.


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