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Associated Press
Washington – U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain is scheduled to meet with the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, on Friday.
The two will meet in Aspen, Colorado where the Dalai Lama plans to address a symposium on Tibetan culture and its impact on global issues, the McCain campaign said Thursday.
The Dalai Lama has been based in India since fleeing his Himalayan homeland in 1959 amid a failed uprising against Chinese rule. He remains immensely popular among Tibetans, despite persistent efforts to demonize him by Beijing.
China claims Tibet has been its territory for centuries, but many Tibetans say they were effectively independent for most of that period. The Dalai Lama insists he wants “real autonomy,” not independence for Tibet.
The issue of Tibetan autonomy has attracted increased attention this year with China hosting the summer Olympics. The Dalai Lama was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in October, in a ceremony attended by President George W. Bush.
The Dalai Lama is scheduled to speak at the Aspen Institute on Saturday.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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