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His Holiness the Dalai Lama is being escorted to the teaching site at Tsuglakhang temple, May 13, 2019. Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
More than a thousand Tibetans, Uyghurs and supporters protest in Paris to denounce China's repression in Tibet. Xi Jinping will be on an official visit to France from Monday. Under a canopy of flags with snow lions, protesters marched from the Trocadero Human Rights Square to the Peace Wall at the other end of the Champ de Mars. 25 March 2019. Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal
His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrives at Theckchen Choeling temple on the second day of his teachings, McLeod Ganj, Feb. 20, 2019 Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
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Tibet group decries politics behind postponed Dalai Lama visit
Tico Times[Thursday, August 21, 2008 16:47]
By Leland Baxter-Neal
Tico Times Staff

The organizers of a visit by the Dalai Lama to Costa Rica claimed yesterday that President Oscar Arias asked them to “uninvite” the exiled Tibetan leader because of conflicts with China.

Arias' spokeswoman Mishelle Mitchel, however, “categorically” denied the allegations.

The Arias administration is planning to receive the president of China, Hu Jintao, later this year in his first visit here since the two nations began diplomatic relations last year. The Chinese government has called the Dalai Lama a terrorist, and accused him of attempting to destabilize China.

The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, preaches non-violence and calls for greater autonomy for his homeland of Tibet, which China controls and claims as its own.

At a press conference yesterday, President Arias said he asked the Dalai Lama to postpone his visit because he would be out of the country on a trip to Europe and wanted to be here to greet the leader.

The Dalai Lama was originally coming to Costa Rica to take part in a meeting of Nobel Peace Prize laureates, which include both himself and President Arias, organized here by the President's Oscar Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress. That meeting was called off earlier this year.

The Tibetan-Costa Rican Cultural Association then continued to plan for a visit from the Dalai Lama Sept. 10 to 12, scheduling a meeting between him and Tibetan Buddhists in Costa Rica, as well as a talk open to the public.

According to Maritza Pacheco, head of the cultural association, Oscar Arias' office called the association earlier this month to ask them to cancel the invite because, among other reasons, “Hu Jintao wasn't going to come if His Holiness (the Dalai Lama) came.”

“This was not an official visit. We had not asked the government for anything. It was all being managed as a private visit,” Pacheco said. “As a country we are losing our sovereignty if we cannot decide who visits us.”

Last night, however, Arias' spokeswoman Mitchell said she could not officially confirm any call from the president's office, and insisted the president's letter, which he made public yesterday, asked only to postpone the trip and had nothing to do with Jintao's visit.
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