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Dalai Lama cancels Botswana visit 'due to exhaustion'

From Reuters - August 12, 2017

GABORONE (Reuters) - Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has canceled a planned visit to Botswana because of exhaustion, his office said, a move that is likely to be welcomed by China, a major investor in the African country.

The Dalai Lama had been expected to address a human rights conference in the capital Gaborone on Aug. 17-19 and meet Botswana's president during the trip.

Visits by the Dalai Lama to foreign countries infuriate China, and it stepped up warnings to Botswana last month, with its Foreign Ministry spokesman demanding "the relevant country earnestly respect China's core interests and make the correct political decision on this matter".

Botswana reacted by saying that as a sovereign state, it retained the right to permit anyone to enter the country.

The Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India, has long been at loggerheads over Tibet with China, which brands him a reactionary and separatist. The Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, says he seeks greater rights, including religious freedom, and true autonomy for Tibetans.

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