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The Guardian - May 22, 2008 by Riazat Butt The Dalai Lama said yesterday that he would go to the Beijing Olympics if Tibetan peace talks were constructive, although he had not yet received an invitation from the Chinese. Speaking in the House of Commons on the second day of his UK tour, the exiled Tibetan leader told a packed press conference that some Chinese officials wanted him to be at the event, which starts in August, but he would only go if the next round of negotiations, scheduled for mid-June, made progress towards peace. "I have no indication about an invitation. Some individual Chinese want me to go there. If the meeting becomes concrete, constructive, and the situation inside Tibet were to improve and there was a long term solution I am ready to go." He said he supported the games, especially the torch relay, and repeated his call for an end to the disruption and protests that have dogged its progress around the world. "I appeal particularly to Tibetans [that] they should not disturb the torch. I made clear from the beginning we support Olympic Games, then the torch is part of that. We must protect it." The Dalai Lama said it would become clear in the autumn whether the Chinese were serious about negotiating or whether the efforts were "only for the Olympics". "That we have to see," he added. The Dalai Lama and the Chinese authorities have been engaged in a bitter public dispute over who was responsible for the rioting in Tibet in March, when Buddhist monks protested against Chinese rule, the biggest challenge to Beijing since 1989. As the protests escalated, ordinary members of the public became involved and there was mass rioting in Lhasa, the capital, and violence was also reported in provinces with sizeable Tibetan communities. In a wide-ranging question and answer session hosted by the Tibet Society and the All Parliamentary Group for Tibet, the Dalai Lama urged Britain not to forget his country during its pursuit of closer ties with China. "Economy is important but human values are more important. Too many issues more important, like human rights and environment issues. While you are making close relations in business field and business interest there is no point in forgetting about principles." He suggested Britain take note of a Buddhist saying in its dealings with China, that a good friend who points out mistakes and imperfections and rebukes evil is to be respected as if he reveals a secret of hidden treasure. "I was always against the isolation of China. Not good," he said. "China is a very important nation we must respect. It's important to make clear wrong things about your friends through friendly manner." He also rejected suggestions that Gordon Brown had snubbed him by arranging their meeting at Lambeth Palace and not Downing Street.

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