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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China memo questions loyalty of Communist Tibetans

October 12, 2007

Wed Oct 10, 2007 8:44pm IST

By Lindsay Beck

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is questioning the loyalty of ethnic Tibetan
members of the ruling Communist Party, accusing many of swearing their
true allegiance to the Dalai Lama, according to an internal memo.

The Sept. 4 memo, issued by the Party's Discipline and Inspection
Commission, highlights ongoing concerns about stability in Tibet, the
largely Buddhist western region into which Chinese troops marched in 1950.

"It calls on the Party in Tibet to carry out a kind of campaign -- I
suppose a kind of rectification campaign -- to reassess the loyalty of
the members," said Robbie Barnett, a Tibet expert at Columbia University
who had parts of the memo read to him.

"The content seems to be this question of whether the Party members in
Tibet are reliable or are supporting the Dalai Lama."

Radio Free Asia (RFA) quoted the memo directly, saying it accused
internal dissidents of "suckling at the breast of the Chinese Communist
Party, while calling the Dalai Lama mother".

"There still exists a small number of dissident elements within our
Party whose commitment to its ideals, beliefs, and political standpoint
is a wavering one," Washington-based RFA quoted the memo as saying.

The Dalai Lama fled into exile in 1959 following a failed uprising
against Chinese rule. Authorities have since all but erased his presence
from the region's Buddhist monasteries but many in Tibet still consider
him their spiritual leader.

The document raises at least two specific cases of disloyalty on the
part of Tibetans: a Party member who was expelled for shouting
"reactionary slogans", and a schoolteacher who told his pupils that the
Panchen Lama recognised by China was a fake.

The Panchen Lama is Tibet's second-highest spiritual leader.

DALAI LAMA DENOUNCED

China's state media has in the last week issued several reports
denouncing the Dalai Lama, possibly in reaction to the announcement that
U.S. President George W. Bush is to present him with the Congressional
Gold Medal on Oct. 17.

In its latest invective against him, China's official Xinhua news agency
on Tuesday accused the Dalai Lama of supporting "evil cults", namely
Japan's Aum Shinrikyo, which carried out a sarin nerve gas attack on the
Tokyo subway in 1995, killing 12.

The Dalai Lama says he wants greater autonomy for his homeland, not
independence, but China has continued to consider him a separatist.

Rights groups say political repression in Tibet and in parts of western
China dominated by ethnic Tibetans is worsening as the Party seeks to
stifle dissent and ensure a stable environment for its five-yearly
Congress, which opens next week.

The International Campaign for Tibet said the military presence in
ethnic Tibetan counties of Sichuan province has increased since villager
Runggye Adak addressed a crowd of people on the need for greater
religious freedom and for the Dalai Lama to be allowed to return to
China from exile in India.

Local people, including schoolchildren, have been asked to denounce the
Dalai Lama, the Washington-based group said.

The Party secretary of Tibet, Zhang Qingli, has also pledged to maintain
stability in the remote, mountainous region to ensure the success of the
Party Congress and the 2008 Olympic Games, which open in Beijing next
August.

Zhang is seen as a hardliner, whose term in Tibet has been shaped by a
rare demonstration at a Lhasa monastery last year that coincided with
the beginning of his post.

"His reaction has been very strong," said Barnett.

CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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