- The Washington Times - Friday, March 13, 2009

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Nobel laureates and celebrities have joined Archbishop Desmond Tutu in urging China to stop “verbally abusing” Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, according to a human rights Web site.

The South African Nobel Peace Prize laureate expressed concern in a letter at what he called the deterioration of the human rights situation in Tibet, and the apparent breakdown of talks between the Chinese government and emissaries of the Dalai Lama.

The letter _ posted on TheCommunity.com, an Internet site for Nobel winners and dealing with human rights issues _ was opened to the public for signatures Friday.

According to the site, several Nobel laureates have signed the letter including Elie Wiesel and Jody Williams as well as dozens of celebrities and rights activists such as Richard Gere, Mia Farrow and Harrison Ford.

Earlier this week, the Dalai Lama condemned China’s “brutal crackdown” and its harsh rule over the decades, which has turned Tibet into a “hell on earth.”

Tensions have spiked ahead of two key anniversaries this week _ the 50th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising that sent the Dalai Lama into exile and Saturday’s one-year anniversary of violent anti-Chinese riots in Lhasa that sparked Tibet’s most widespread, sustained revolt in decades.

China claims Tibet as part of its territory and blames the Dalai Lama for advancing an agenda for independence and fomenting the anti-government protests in Lhasa.

Tutu told the Dalai Lama: “We stand with you. You define non-violence and compassion and goodness. Clearly China does not know you. It is our sincere hope that they will.”

The archbishop continued by asking China to “stop naming, blaming and verbally abusing one whose life has been devoted to peace.”

Mary Wald, who heads the site, said the letter would eventually be delivered to Chinese President Hu Jintao and others.

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On the Net: https://www.thecommunity.com

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