Dalai Lama: China Trying to Crush Tibetan Identity

The Dalai Lama is accusing China

The Dalai Lama is greeted upon his arrival in Washington, Monday, Oct. 15, 2007. He is in Washington where he will receive the Congressional Gold Medal during a ceremony Wednesday. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

ROME (AP) - The Dalai Lama is accusing China's government of trying "to eliminate Tibetan spirit and Tibetan identity."

The exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader made the comments in Rome, where he is to receive honorary citizenship during a formal ceremony on Monday.

China has long accused the Dalai Lama of leading a campaign to split Tibet from the rest of the country. The Dalai Lama has denied the allegations, saying he is only seeking greater autonomy for theregion to protect its unique Buddhist culture.

On Sunday, he said that since China crushed Tibetan protests last March, it's as if Tibet has been "passing through a death sentence."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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