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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 presses demands on Dalai Lama ahead of Games

July 8, 2008

July 7, 2008

BEIJING, July 7 (Reuters) - China's attitude to future talks with
envoys of the Dalai Lama rests on how he answers demands not to
disrupt the Beijing Olympics, an official said, highlighting intense
anxieties about the Games.

After secretive talks with representatives of the exiled Tibetan
Buddhist leader, Beijing said last week that future talks depended on
his preventing acts "sabotaging the Olympic Games".

China has accused the Dalai's followers of seeking to derail the
Games by orchestrating unrest across Tibet in March and subsequent
protests that upset the Olympic torch relay in several countries. The
Dalai has repeatedly denied the accusations.

But in an apparent bid to amplify Beijing's claims, a Chinese
Communist Party spokesman repeated the demands, the state-run Xinhua
news agency reported on Monday.

An unnamed spokesman for the Party's United Front Work Department,
which oversaw the talks, said the Buddhist leader must vow "not to
support activities to disturb the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games",
not support "violent criminal activities", not support efforts for
Tibetan independence, and curb the pro-independence Tibetan Youth Congress.

"If the Dalai Lama fails to meet such simple and rational demands, it
will be impossible to have the necessary atmosphere and conditions
for the next round of contacts," the spokesman said, according to Xinhua.

"The door for dialogue is always open and contacts will make positive
steps as long as the Dalai Lama meets words with actions and truly
follows the four 'not-supports'," the spokesman said, referring to
the vows Beijing has demanded.

The Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising
against Chinese rule, says he wants true autonomy for the mountain
region, but not outright independence. Beijing says his conditions
amount to a bid for independence.

The Chinese government has treated the Olympics as a historic
affirmation of the country's progress and stability.

The Dalai has also said he supports the Olympics and appealed to
Tibetans not to protest during the Aug. 8-24 Games.

The Xinhua report did not explain why the spokesman repeated the
demands now. But they come ahead of the Group of Eight summit in
Japan this week, where world leaders, including U.S. President George
W. Bush, may raise concerns about restive Tibet with Chinese
President Hu Jintao.

Envoys of the Dalai Lama said on Saturday that the talks last week
did not serve any serious purpose. The last round of such talks was
in May, following the riots and protests across Tibet.

The envoys said the talks were marked by personal attacks on the
Dalai and that it seemed China held them in a bid to ensure no
disruptions to the Games, rather than address Tibet's future.

The Party spokesman said the talks were about the Dalai's "personal
future" and not negotiations about Tibet. (Reporting by Chris
Buckley; Editing by Alex Richardson)
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