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Tibetans not seeking outright independence from China: Dalai Lama

Toronto: The Tibetans are not seeking outright independence from China but "enough autonomy" for the survival of their culture, Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama has said.

"Tibetans are seeking enough autonomy for Tibet to allow its culture to survive, rather than outright independence," Dalai Lama said at a news conference in Ottawa that followed his public talk attended by over 7000 people yesterday.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader praised Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for balancing the human rights of Tibetans with a growing trade relationship with the booming economy of China.

"I think he managed it very well, keep close relation with China, at the same time his own democratic value, he stand firm, that's very good. He had the courage to meet me, so I very much appreciate that," the Dalai Lama said.

Dalai Lama encouraged Canada to maintain its relationship with China.

The Dalai Lama hearkened back to the honorary Canadian citizenship given to him by Parliament in 2006, and he referred to Harper as "my prime minister".

The Tibetan leader added that one of the things he did during the meeting with Harper was thanking him for an agreement more than a year ago to accept 1,000 Tibetans into Canada from India over a five-year period.

PTI