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Dalai Lama wins Templeton Prize, says China suffers from 'moral crisis'

China's widespread corruption and lawlessness has contributed to millions of Chinese seeking out Buddhism, says the Dalai Lama, who was awarded the Templeton Prize today.

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Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, center, with Bishop of London Richard Chartres, right, and St.Paul's Cathedral Canon Pastor Reverend Michael Colclough leave St. Paul's Cathedral in London after receiving the 2012 Templeton Prize awarded to him for encouraging scientific research and harmony among religions, Monday, May 14, 2012.

Sang Tan/AP

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China is beset by a moral crisis, widespread corruption and lawlessness, leading millions of Chinese to seek solace in Buddhism, Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, said on Monday.

The Dalai Lama was in London to receive the $1.7 million Templeton prize for his work affirming the spiritual dimension of life.

Speaking to reporters before the award ceremony at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, he said millions of young Chinese were showing an interest in spirituality.

"Look at China now, the moral crisis, corruption - immense," he said, adding that China had "no proper rule of law".

A survey two years ago found that 200 million Chinese followed Buddhism, including many who followed Tibetan Buddhism, he said.

"Tibetan Buddhist culture I think [is of] immense benefit to millions of Chinese who are really passing through a difficult period like that," he said.

In the most tumultuous upheaval in China's leadership in decades, the Communist Party banished its most controversial politician, Bo Xilai, from its ranks in April and detained his wife over the murder of a British businessman.

China has ruled Tibet since 1950 when Communist troops occupied the country. The Dalai Lama escaped to live in exile in India after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

The Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel peace prize in 1989, said he would donate $1.5 million of the Templeton prize money to support British charity Save the Children's work to combat malnutrition among children in India. The rest will go to scientific causes.

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