Prince Charles says he will meet the Dalai Lama

March 20th, 2008 - 11:01 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Gordon Brown

London, March 20 (IANS) Prince Charles, a known admirer of the Dalai Lama, will meet the Tibetan spiritual leader when he visits Britain in May, the prince’s office said Thursday. The confirmation by Clarence House came even as China protested the decision by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to meet the Dalai Lama during his visit in the third week of May.

Charles, a supporter of the Tibetan movement, hosted a reception for the Dalai Lama in St. James’s Palace in 2004 and has decided to stay away from the Beijing Olympics in August.

Meanwhile, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said Thursday that Beijing was “seriously concerned” by Brown’s plan to meet the Dalai Lama, accusing the India-based Buddhist leader of organising and inciting violent protests in Tibetan areas of China this month.

“As we have repeatedly pointed out, Dalai is a political refugee engaged in activities of splitting China under the camouflage of religion,” Qin Gang said.

Brown will become the first British prime minister to meet the Dalai Lama.

In a trenchant criticism of China Thursday, former Czech president Vaclav Havel said the suppression of the Tibetan protest “evokes echoes of the totalitarian practices that many of us remember from the days before communism in Central and Eastern Europe collapsed in 1989: harsh censorship of the domestic media, blackouts of reporting by foreign media from China, refusal of visas to foreign journalists, and blaming the unrest on the ‘Dalai Lama’s conspiratorial clique’ and other unspecified dark forces supposedly manipulated from abroad.”

“Indeed, the language used by some Chinese government representatives and the official Chinese media is a reminder of the worst of times during the Stalinist and Maoist eras. But the most dangerous development of this unfortunate situation is the current attempt to seal off Tibet from the rest of the world,” Havel said in a comment published in the Guardian newspaper.

Havel was the first president of the post-Communist Czech Republic.

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