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The Dalai Lama Writes McCain

By Glenn Kessler
The Dalai Lama sent a letter today to Sen. John McCain, thanking him for "concern you have shown regarding the sad turn of events in Tibet and for your efforts to persuade the Chinese authorities to exercise restraint in dealing with the demonstrations."

McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, issued a statement Tuesday in which he called the Dalai Lama, the spiritual Tibetan leader, "a man of peace who reflects the hopes and aspirations of Tibetans." McCain urged the Chinese government to open a "genuine dialogue" with the Dalai Lama and urged the release of monks detained for "peacefully expressing their views" and "full outside access" to Tibet.

In his letter, the Dalai Lama said he was "deeply saddened" by what had happened in Tibet and expressed fears that those rounded up "might not be treated properly and fairly." He said he did not think "such repressive measures" will achieve unity and stability. "At this critical juncture, it is imperative that the Chinese authorities begin to realize the need to win Tibetan hearts and minds by building up their confidence and trust rather than resorting to further force," he wrote.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who are battling for the Democratic nomination, have spoken out on Tibet, with Obama today saying in a speech that the United States should work with China but also speak out "for the human rights and religious freedom of the people of Tibet."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a strong critic of China who is visiting India, is expected to visit the Dalai Lama this week to express her support.

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 19, 2008; 7:02 PM ET
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