April 11, 2008 / 11:42 PM / 12 years ago

Dalai Lama does not support Olympics boycott

SEATTLE (Reuters) - The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, said on Friday he did not support a boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games.

The Dalai Lama, exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, takes part in a panel discussion on the Scientific basis for compassion at the University of Washington's Hec Edmundson Pavilion on the first day of the 5-day Seeds of Compassion gathering in Seattle, Washington, April 11, 2008. REUTERS/Marcus R. Donner

Asked on NBC “Nightly News” whether he wanted the world to boycott the Olympics this summer, the Dalai Lama replied, “No.”

Asked if he wanted the United States and other world leaders to boycott the opening ceremony in support of Tibet, he replied, “That’s up to them.”

“It is very important to make clear, not only just the Tibet case. But in China proper, the report of human right is poor. And their freedom, also very poor,” the Dalai Lama said.

Asked what his message to China was, he said: “My main point is: We are not against you. And I’m not seeking separation.’”

China blames the Dalai Lama for orchestrating monk-led protests in Tibet last month that later turned violent as part of a campaign for independence.

The Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule, denies involvement.

The European Parliament has urged European Union leaders to boycott the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympic Games unless China starts talks with the Dalai Lama over the situation in Tibet.

In Washington, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a resolution urging China to open dialogue with the Dalai Lama, end a crackdown on nonviolent Tibetan protesters and halt repression in the region.

Demonstrations against China’s suppression of Tibetan protests have followed the progress of the Olympic flame in Europe, the United States and Latin America, prompting a nationalist backlash from China’s authorities and media.

The Dalai Lama is in Seattle for a five-day Seeds of Compassion conference.

Reporting by Daisuke Wakabayashi; Editing by Sandra Maler

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