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The Dalai Lama in U.S. for 15-day visit

June 21, 2000
Web posted at: 12:43 a.m. HKT (1643 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Dalai Lama is in the United States for a 15-day visit that will include a Tuesday meeting with President Clinton.

The exiled Tibetan leader is expected to ask the White House to renew pressure on China to recognize Tibetan independence -- a point on which Beijing refuses even to negotiate.

Two years after the Communists came to power in Beijing in 1949, they sent troops to Tibet, in what Tibetans consider an invasion. China insists that Tibet has historically been part of its territory. After a failed Tibetan uprising in 1959, the Dalai Lama fled to India.

Since then, a military occupation of Tibet has been maintained by China, which has moved hundreds of thousands of soldiers, government officials and settlers to the region.

More settlers may be heading to Tibet

More settlers may arrive soon. While the Dalai Lama is in the United States an independent inspection panel, hired by the World Bank, is expected to release its decision on a plan to move 58,000 Chinese Muslims to the territory.

The Dalai Lama opposes the plan, saying that the influx of Chinese into Tibet represents a threat to the survival of Tibetans as a distinct people.

Funding for the project was postponed last June after international protests prompted an investigation by the World Bank's independent inspection panel.

As the Dalai Lama arrived at his hotel on Monday, he paused briefly to speak with a small group of people wearing traditional Tibetan garb. They greeted him by burning incense and waving Tibetan flags.

The Dalai Lama is scheduled to speak on the National Mall July 2, as part of the Smithsonian's Folklife Festival, featuring Tibetan culture.

ASIANOW


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