German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the Dalai Lama in Berlin on Sunday, voicing her support for Tibetan cultural autonomy, AFP reported. The meeting was the first time the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader has been received by a German chancellor. The meeting comes after Merkel's visit to Beijing at the end of August, during which she met with a dissident journalist and warned the Chinese government to expect scrutiny of its human rights record as the Olympics approach. The Dalai Lama no longer demands full independence from China for Tibet, instead seeking religious and cultural autonomy for the region. Before the meeting, China denounced the Dalai Lama as a separatist and warned Germany to retract its invitation to him. On Sunday, Chinese officials called off a meeting with German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries in Munich in apparent retaliation. China is Germany's biggest trading partner in Asia.
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