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China blames Dalai Lama for attack on embassy in India

October 17, 2007

BEIJING, October 12 (AP) - China on Friday accused the Dalai Lama of
 causing an attack on its embassy in India, a day after criticizing the
 U.S. Congress over plans to award its highest civilian honor to the
 exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader.

About 30 Tibetan exiles stormed the embassy in New Delhi on Wednesday,
 with several chaining themselves to a flag pole while others sprayed
 "Free Tibet" in red paint on the embassy walls and main gate, witnesses
 said.

They were protesting a recent Chinese order that Beijing must approve
 all of Tibet's spiritual leaders, known as Lamas. For centuries, the
 search for the reincarnation of lamas _ including Tibet's spiritual head,
 the Dalai Lama _ has been carried out by select Tibetan monks.

"The Dalai Lama clique will seek every opportunity available to stir up
 trouble and disturb and destroy the stability and development of
 China's Tibetan Autonomous Region," the Foreign Ministry said in a
 statement.

"These plots are doomed to fail," it said. "We demand the Indian side
 abide by its commitments to not allow 'Tibetan separatists' to carry out
 anti-Chinese political activities ... and seriously punish the
 perpetrators."

The Tibetan leader has been based in India since fleeing his Himalayan
 homeland in 1959 amid a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

He remains immensely popular among Tibetans, despite persistent efforts
 to demonize him by Beijing, which objects vigorously to all overseas
 visits by the Dalai Lama.

Recently, China appears to have increased its verbal attacks on the
 Dalai Lama and anyone it sees as supporting him.

On Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said Beijing
 protested to Washington over Congress' move, but gave no details. Congress
 was to award the prize next week.

"China resolutely opposes the U.S. Congress awarding the Dalai its
 so-called Congressional Gold Medal, and firmly opposes any country or any
 person using the Dalai issue to interfere in China's internal affairs,"
 Liu said.

The White House confirmed President George W. Bush would attend the
 ceremony at the Capitol.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted last month to bestow the award
 on the Dalai Lama, winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, citing his
 "many enduring and outstanding contributions to peace, nonviolence, human
 rights, and religious understanding".

Foreign leaders have grown increasingly willing to risk Beijing's wrath
 to underscore concerns for human rights in Tibet, which China has
 ruled with a heavy hand since communist forces invaded in 1951.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel met the Dalai Lama last month, also
 drawing criticism from Beijing. China says Tibet has been its territory
 for centuries, but many Tibetans say they were effectively independent
 for most of that period. The demonstrators in New Delhi were protesting
 the new order, which came into force in September and states that all
 future incarnations of living Buddhas related to Tibetan Buddhism must
 get Chinese government approval.

China's officially atheistic communist government has increasingly
 sought to direct Tibetan Buddhism, for centuries the basis of Tibet's
 civil, religious, cultural and political life.

Reincarnated lamas often lead religious communities and oversee the
 training of monks, giving them enormous influence over religious life in
 Tibet.

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