DHARAMSHALA--Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, paid tribute Thursday to those killed in the Tiananmen Square crackdown and urged China's leaders to review the events that led to the bloodshed.
"I respectfully honor those who died expressing the popular demand for the government to be more accountable to its people," the Dalai Lama said in a statement from the seat of his exiled government in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamshala.
Hundreds of peaceful protesters and ordinary citizens were killed in the streets of Beijing when military troops entered the capital to end seven weeks of pro-democracy protests 20 years ago.
The Dalai Lama, who has lived in India since escaping a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, said the Chinese government had a "great opportunity" to review its official labeling of the pro-democracy movement as "counter-revolutionary."
The students who led the movement were "neither anti-communist nor anti-socialist" the Dalai Lama said.
"It is my hope that the Chinese leaders have the courage and far-sightedness to embrace more truly egalitarian principles and pursue a policy of greater accommodation and tolerance of diverse views," he added.
The Dalai Lama is regularly vilified by China as a separatist seeking independence for his Himalayan homeland -- a charge he denies.