Dalai Lama Arrives in Germany

The Dalai Lama called for real autonomy for Tibet as he arrived in Germany Thursday on the first leg of a visit to several Western countries.

The Tibetan spiritual leader will give lectures and meet with politicians while in Germany. But he will not meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is in Latin America.

Beijing insists Tibet is a part of China. A meeting between the Dalai Lama and Chancellor Merkel in Berlin last September strained relations between the two countries and led to Beijing canceling high-level contacts with German officials.

After landing in Frankfurt, the Dalai Lama criticized China's violent suppression of Tibetans following protests in Lhasa in March, which spread to neighboring provinces. He said Tibet is not seeking independence but autonomy within China.

The Dalai Lama will be in Germany until Monday and then heads to Great Britain, where he is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The meeting is expected to take place at the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury instead of at Mr. Brown's official residence.

Mr. Brown -- like other Western leaders in the past -- angered Beijing when he announced earlier this year that he would meet with the Dalai Lama during the trip.

However, U.S. President George Bush, and Mr. Brown's predecessor, Tony Blair, have set aside Chinese concerns and met with the Dalai Lama at their offices or residences.

The Dalai Lama is also visiting France, Australia and the United States in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.