Brown to meet with Dalai Lama at Lambeth Palace

By staff writers
May 23, 2008

Gordon Brown will meet the Dalai Lama at Lambeth Palace, the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, today.

The British Prime Minister has been accused of "kow-towing" to China by meeting the exiled Tibetan leader in his capacity as a spiritual leader at Lambeth Palace, rather than receiving him as a political leader at 10 Downing Street.

The Tibetan spiritual leader is on a five-nation tour.

Both of Brown's immediate predecessors, Tony Blair and John Major, met with the Dalai Lama in the prime minister's Downing Street offices. But the Dalai Lama himself played down the row when he appeared before a House of Commons committee to give evidence about human rights in his homeland, which has been ruled by Beijing since 1951.

Insisting that he was not concerned about the Prime Minister's choice of venue, he told the foreign affairs committee: "For me - no differences. So long as meeting and talk - that is important. I always meet on the level we are human beings."

But asked if Britain was doing enough to support Tibet, he replied: "I think not enough."

While his discussions with Mr Brown will take place in the margins of an inter-faith conference involving the Archbishop of Canterbury and other religious leaders, the Dalai Lama made clear that he would be raising the political situation in Tibet.

Two months after the authorities brutally suppressed a series of anti-Chinese protests across the Tibetan region, he said arrests and "severe torture" were still taking place.

On Thursday, the Dalai Lama met the Prince of Wales at his London home, Clarence House, to discuss spiritual matters. He planted a tree at the royal residence to commemorate his visit.

The Dalai Lama is in Britain until May 30.

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