Dalai Lama plays down China Olympics report

The Dalai Lama would find it hard to go to the Beijing Olympics, German television quoted him as saying on Thursday, after a Tibet government-in-exile legislator reported a Chinese inquiry whether he might do so.

"If the situation in Tibet remains as it is now, and there is no improvement, then it is very hard to go there," he told broadcaster ZDF in an interview conducted in Germany, where he is on a five-day tour.

ZDF added that so far the Dalai Lama had not received an invitation to attend the Games.

A Tibet government-in-exile legislator said on Monday that a senior Chinese official has asked whether the Tibetan spiritual leader would agree to attend the Beijing Olympics to ease recent tensions.

China has blamed the Dalai Lama for Tibetan unrest since mid-March. China took control over the mountainous territory in the 1950s.

The recent unrest, the most serious challenge to Chinese rule in the region for nearly two decades, prompted anti-China protests that disrupted the international leg of the Olympic torch relay for the Aug. 8-24 Beijing Olympics and led to calls for Western leaders to boycott the Games.

ZDF reported the Dalai Lama as saying that without the March unrest in Tibet, there would have been "a real possibility to travel there (Beijing) and to have fun at this great occasion."

(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Charles Dick)

Copyright © 2008 Reuters

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