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Dalai Lama is 'political monk', says Chinese official

March 5, 2010

Indo-Asian News Service (IANS)
March 4, 2010

BEIJING -- A senior Chinese official Thursday described the Dalai
Lama as a "political monk" while criticizing "certain foreign
leaders" for meeting the Tibetan spiritual leader.

Xinhua news agency quoted Li Zhaoxing as saying: "Some foreign
politicians said the Dalai Lama is a religious figure, but in fact he
is a political exile. A very close friend ... who served an important
post in the US government said the Dalai Lama was a political monk."

Li is spokesman for the annual session of China's top legislature,
the National People's Congress.

Addressing reporters a day before the NPC opens, Li said: "Why did
the Dalai Lama propose a 'Greater Tibet' and keep the
'government-in-exile' with a so-called constitution while claiming he
is not in support of 'Tibet independence'?"

He asserted that Tibet was "an inalienable part of China" and the
region has recorded social and economic progress since the Communists
took control of the region in 1959, sending the Dalai Lama fleeing to India.

"They (foreigners) lacked proper understanding about Tibet's history
and present," Li said.

Some foreign leaders intended to use the Tibetan issues to interfere
in China's internal affairs, he said.

Citing a poem by the sixth Dalai Lama, Li said: "Lies always look
flamboyant and smell fragrant, so we must be cautious."

Li's comments came a fortnight after President Barack Obama met the
Dalai Lama at the White House, triggering an angry reaction from
Beijing which accused the US of "grossly interfering" in the
country's internal affairs and "damaging" Sino-US ties.

Brushing off Chinese warnings, Obama met the Dalai Lama to express
his "strong support" for human rights and religious freedom in Tibet
while encouraging a direct dialogue between the Tibetans and China.

The Dalai Lama has lived since 1959 in India, which is also home to
some 100,000 Tibetan exiles. The Dalai Lama's government-in-exile,
which is not recognised by any country, is based in the Indian hill
town Dharamsala.
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