Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama (C), is congratulated by Karlheinz Koegel (L), chief of German Media Research Group, and Hesse state Premier Roland Koch (R) after he was honoured with the 2008 German media award during a ceremony in Baden Baden February 10, 2009.REUTERS/Vincent Kessler (GERMANY)
Dharamsala, Feb. 11, 2009 - "When narrow-minded Chinese officials portray Tibetan beliefs and our cultural heritage as a threat, the Tibetan people hear a death sentence," 73 year old Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama said yesterday. His Holiness, who is on his first trip abroad this year, was speaking in the German city of Baden Baden where he received the German Media award.
The award is presented by German audience research company, Media Control.
The Tibetan leader reiterated that the Tibetans were not seeking separation from China but a genuine autonomy for the Himalayan region.
"We are not a threat, but an asset to China," he said at the award ceremony attended by 600 German business and media celebrities.
Roland Koch, premier of the German state of Hesse and a supporter of the Dalai Lama, said, "One of the biggest mistakes of the Chinese government is to believe that the death of the Dalai Lama will provide an opportunity to pacify the Tibetan people.
"The exact opposite is true," he said.
Karlheinz Koegel, Media Control's chief, said the German Media Prize was awarded to the Dalai Lama for winning worldwide awareness.
China routinely brands the Dalai Lama as a "splittist", or separatist, seeking separation of Tibet from “mainland” China. The Dalai Lama regularly says he is only seeking greater autonomy, not outright independence for the Himalayan region.