China cancels Germany talks amid Dalai Lama visit

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BERLIN, Sep 22 (Reuters) China has cancelled talks with German officials due to take place tomorrow, when Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to hold a separate meeting with the Dalai Lama, Germany's Justice Ministry said today.

A ministry spokeswoman said the Chinese cancelled the talks on the rule of law, due to take place in Munich, for ''technical reasons''. German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries had been due to attend.

China has protested against Merkel's plans to meet the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, summoning the German ambassador in Beijing earlier this month.

The Dalai Lama is due to meet Merkel in the German chancellery tomorrow for what Berlin has described as a ''private exchange of views''.

Critics of China's rule in Tibet say Beijing continues to repress Tibetan Buddhists' religious aspirations, especially their veneration for the Dalai Lama, whom China denounces as a ''separatist''. The spiritual leader says he only wants greater autonomy for the region.

Merkel made an official visit to China last month.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet for India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule. He remains highly popular among Tibetans.


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