China must open dialogue with Dalai Lama: Bush

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Washington, Apr 10: President Bush has urged Chinese leaders to open talks with Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama to resolve the current crisis before the Summer Olympics in Beijing. ''If they ever were to reach out to the Dalai Lama, they'd find him to be a really fine man, a peaceful man, a man who is anti- violence, a man who is not for independence but for the cultural identity of the Tibetans,'' Bush said.

Talking to newspersons after a meeting with Singapore Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong at the White House yesterday, Bush said, ''We both are agree that it would stand the Chinese government in good stead if they would, you know, begin a dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama.'' The Singapore's Minister said, ''the way forward will be for Chinese leaders to talk to some representatives of the Dalai Lama, and better still if they can talk directly to the Dalai Lama. I think that is the only way for them to contain this problem.''

The White House, however, said, ''President Bush still intends to go to the Olympics in Beijing and will continue pressing Chinese leaders to improve human rights, democracy, political freedoms, and religious tolerance.'' Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives passed by a vote of 413 to one a bi-partisan resolution condemning China's crackdown in Tibet and urging Beijing to hold a substantive dialogue with, the Dalai Lama.

Sponsored by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the resolution urged Chinese leaders to conduct a ''results-based dialogue without preconditions'' directly with the Dalai Lama, to address legitimate grievances, aimed at achieving a long-term solution to the Tibetan situation.

It also demanded the immediate release of Tibetans imprisoned for non-violently expressing opposition to Chinese government policies in Tibet.


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