- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, will make a high-profile 10-day visit to Washington next month, during which he is expected to meet with President Bush, a pro-Tibet group said yesterday.

Despite complaints from communist China, Mr. Bush held White House talks with the exiled leader in 2001. Beijing sees the Buddhist leader as a supporter of independence for Tibet, which it regards as Chinese territory.

The Dalai Lama’s visit will begin Nov. 8 and continue until the eve of Mr. Bush’s departure for a trip to East Asia that includes a Beijing meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The religious leader’s itinerary “anticipates likely meetings with U.S. President George Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and key congressional leaders,” said the International Campaign for Tibet.

The group said the visit comes at a “key moment” and represents a “historic opportunity for the Tibetan people,” citing the current Sino-Tibetan dialogue on the territory’s status.

The Dalai Lama also will speak at the MCI Center Nov. 13 to celebrate his 70th birthday. D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, who will be the Dalai Lama’s host, described the religious leader as “a powerful and positive force in our world.”

Amnesty International said separately yesterday that it planned to urge Mr. Bush to raise the case of Tibet’s young Panchen Lama, who has been missing since he was 6 years old in 1995, in his talks with Mr. Hu.

Human-rights groups say the Panchen Lama, whom the Dalai Lama appointed, has been placed under house arrest, a charge Beijing denies while refusing to reveal his whereabouts.



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