Suu Kyi risks China ire with Dalai Lama meet

Suu Kyi risks China ire with Dalai Lama meet

PRAGUE - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has risked prompting Chinese anger after it was confirmed she had a private meeting with the Dalai Lama on the sidelines of a Prague rights conference, its spokesman said Monday.

Beijing has for decades opposed foreign dignitaries meeting Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, who fled his homeland for India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

"They met on Sunday at the Dalai Lama's lecture," Filip Sebek, spokesman for the Forum 2000 foundation that organises the conference, told AFP, specifying that the two Nobel Peace laureates met in private.

Beijing, a powerful Myanmar ally and major investor in the resource-rich nation, has branded the Dalai Lama an anti-China "separatist" who encourages violence.

But the 78-year-old Buddhist leader insists he is peacefully seeking rights and autonomy for Tibetans. He signaled Friday in Vilnius that he thought China was being "more realistic" about Tibet after decades of hard-line policy.

Suu Kyi and the Dalai Lama, who met previously in London last year, both spoke at this year's three-day forum, which began Sunday.

Each paid homage to the late Vaclav Havel, a hero of the 1989 Velvet Revolution that toppled totalitarian Communist rule in the former Czechoslovakia.

Himself an ardent advocate for human rights during the communist era, Havel spearheaded the conference in 1997.

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