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Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama leaves McLeod Ganj for Japan, May 6, 2016 Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
Lawmakers from the Czech conservative opposition TOP 09 and former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg (left) hang Tibetan national flags from the windows of the Chamber of Deputies to oppose Chinese President Xi Jingping's maiden visit to Czech Republic, March 29, 2016 Photo: ČTK Burian Michal
An elderly Tibetan prays before casting her ballot for the Tibetan elections 2016, Tsuglakhang, March 20, 2016. Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
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Schroeder regrets Merkel's Dalai Lama meeting
Reuters[Saturday, November 10, 2007 13:42]
BEIJING - Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder expressed regret over his successor Angela Merkel's meeting with the Dalai Lama but said he was confident it would not hurt bilateral ties, the China Daily reported on Friday.

"Some recent situations have hurt Chinese people's feelings, and I regret it," Schroeder said at a seminar on China's development and world harmony.

China criticized the September meeting between Merkel and Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, and said it would "seriously damage" bilateral ties. It cancelled a human rights meeting in Germany and pulled out of a meeting at which world powers were to discuss new sanctions against Iran.

The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India after a failed uprising against Communist rule in 1959 and is branded by China as a "separatist". He has said he only wants greater autonomy for Tibet.

Schroeder urged China and Germany to "look forward" despite the discord and but said Merkel "committed a mistake" by meeting the Dalai Lama.

Beijing has also criticized recent meeting of the Dalai Lama with officials from the United States and Canada, saying they constitute interference in China's internal affairs and infringe on its sovereignty.

"My predecessors and I refused to meet with the Dalai Lama because of this consideration, and I hope the incumbent government will adhere to it, too," Schroeder was quoted as saying.

Merkel made an official visit to China in August, seeking to bolster diplomatic relations and promote economic ties.
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