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dalai-lama-harper-canadaOttawa: - The spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is in Canada this weekend for a convention of world parliamentarians on Tibet. He said that his people remain hopeful in the face of increasing oppression by Chinese authorities.

His Holiness was welcomed by a crowd of Canadian politicians and supporters Friday that his native Tibet is at risk of cultural extinction, according to media reports. "As fellow human brothers, sisters really showing us your solidarity, and you really want to do something, I very much appreciate," His Holiness said, leaning over his dais to address the 6th World Parliamentarians' Convention on Tibet.

"I always believe the world belongs to humanity," the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate said. "Canada belongs to the Canadian people, not your party or other parties."

His Holiness also spoke of his confidence in the next generation of Tibetans to carry on his life's political work -- freeing Tibet from Chinese rule. "I really feel happy. Now the younger generation has the ability to take full responsibility," he said.

Tibet's spiritual leader, said during a visit to Ottawa that his people remain hopeful in the face of increasing oppression by Chinese authorities. "Don't feel hopeless or feel discouraged," His Holiness said. "The more suppression, the stronger the Tibetan spirit."

"In our own area, there are tremendous difficulties," His Holiness said. "The situation locally is one ancient nation, with very rich ancient cultural heritage, is actually dying."

Addressing a group of MPs and senators from around the world at the parliamentarians' Convention on Tibet, he said Tibetan culture is at risk of cultural extinction at the hands of the Chinese.

They were discussing the dire and deteriorating situation of the Tibetans, who have witnessed the self immolation of more than three dozen monks over the last year to protest China's oppression.

The Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with the spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama Friday afternoon in his Parliament Hill office for about 20 minutes. It was not their first meeting: The two met on one of the spiritual leader's previous visits to Canada.

Conservative, Liberal and NDP parliamentarians are taking part in the conference, along with academics and experts on China and Tibet. Actor Richard Gere, a longtime supporter of Tibet, is also speaking at the conference. Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the political leader of Tibet is in Ottawa this weekend for the convention of world parliamentarians on Tibet.

Official Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair also met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama Friday afternoon, a spokesman confirmed, along with a group of MPs from all parties.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney reiterated his government's past support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Laureate on whom Canada conferred honorary citizenship in 2006.

Kenney spoke of Canada's commitment to open an office of religious freedom within the Foreign Affairs Department, as well as a 2008 statement from Canada calling on China to respect protests and enter into meaningful dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama or his representatives to peacefully resolve the Tibet issue.

Hollywood Star, Richard Gere, in Ottawa for His Holiness the Dalai Lama's visit, says Harper should do more. "The positive thing was that he met him. The less positive thing is that it wasn't public," Gere told reporters at the conference.

"I have no trouble with trade with the Chinese, but to diminish ourselves in the process is a double death for the Chinese people, because it perpetuates the totalitarian state and it kills us in the core of who we are," said Gere.

Gere was chairing a panel discussion at the Friday gathering. He called this a "delicate moment" in the history of their movement.

"This convention is attended by over 50 parliamentarians from 30 countries having 100 delegates including 60 Tibetans," said Mr. Penpa Tsering, speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in exile during the Convention's opening session. This is the 6th World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet. International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet, Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, Canada and Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile will jointly organize this Convention.

After having thorough discussions on these issues, the convention will adopt Ottawa Declaration and 6th World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet Action Plan. The 5th World Parliamentarians' Convention on Tibet in 2009 was hosted in Rome in 2009.

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