Dalai Lama mourns deaths in China quake (Lead)

May 13th, 2008 - 10:11 pm ICT by admin  

Dharamsala/New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama Tuesday mourned the deaths of thousands in a devastating earthquake in China and offered prayers for the victims. The Dalai Lama also lauded the Chinese authorities for acting swiftly to rescue survivors.

“I would like to extend my deep sympathy and heartfelt condolences to those families who have been directly affected by the strong earthquake,” the Tibetan spiritual leader said in a statement in Dharamsala - the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

“I offer my prayers for those who have lost their lives and those injured.”

“We are full of sympathy for the families bereaved by this great tragedy and we admire the quick response of the Chinese authorities in deploying rescue teams at such short notice to bring out survivors from the rubble,” Thubten Samphel, a spokesperson for the Tibetan government-in-exile, said.

“We share their sorrow, sadness and tragedy. We pray for those who have lost their lives,” Dalai Lama’s envoy in New Delhi Tempa Tsering told IANS.

“We don’t want this to happen to anyone anywhere in the world be it China or Tibet. We feel deeply for those who are suffering in China,” Tsering said.

“There is no place for politics at a time of such tragedy. Suffering is suffering,” Tsering replied when he was asked about China’s accusations against the Dalai Lama for allegedly abetting unrest and violence in Lhasa in March.

The Dalai Lama has denied these charges and stressed that despite China’s crackdown on Tibetan protesters in March, he backs genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people under China’s rule, but is not in favour of independence.

According to Xinhua, China’s official news agency, the death toll has spiralled to 12,000 after a massive 7.9 magnitude quake struck Monday afternoon in Sichuan province.

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