Hundreds Cheer Dalai Lama As He Leaves Denmark

June 1st 2009

Copenhagen, Denmark, 31 June 2009 (AFP) - The Dalai Lama left Copenhagen on Sunday under the cheers of an adoring throng of hundreds bidding farewell to Tibet's spiritual leader, whose latest trip to Europe has angered China again.

He shook the hands of supporters who had waited for him outside his hotel as he headed to the airport to travel to Iceland, the second leg of a trip that will also take him to the Netherlands and France.

"As usual my visit to Denmark and to other countries is mainly spiritual and educational, not political," he told AFP.

China criticised the Dalai Lama's meeting with Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen and other top Danish elected officials, saying it "severely harmed" relations between China and Denmark.

Beijing has also been angered by the decision by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe to meet the Buddhist monk and give him an honorary citizen award when he visits France June 6 to 8.

The Dalai Lama told AFP that he felt "a great honour" to be receiving the award.

Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking independence for Tibet from Chinese rule and considers any official meeting with the leader as meddling in China's internal affairs.

The Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since fleeing Tibet after the failure of an anti-Chinese uprising in 1949, says he just wants meaningful autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.


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