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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

China mum on evidence for Tibet conspiracy claims

March 21, 2008

By Lindsay Beck

BEIJING, March 20, 2008 (Reuters) - China refused on Thursday to detail
evidence against the Dalai Lama or the nature of his "clique", which it
says masterminded the most violent anti-government protests in its
ethnic Tibetan areas in 20 years.

China says a group it calls the "Dalai clique" organised protests that
turned into a riot in Tibet's capital Lhasa last week that killed at
least 13 people and which spilled over into parts of its western provinces.

But during an hour-long news conference, its Foreign Ministry spokesman
declined to elaborate on who that group includes or how such a plot went
undetected by China's intelligence organs in a region that the Communist
government tightly controls.

"As the investigation unfolds, relevant authorities of China will
release evidence in due course," Qin Gang said.

Qin did not say how China could be certain the Dalai Lama, the spiritual
leader of Tibetan Buddhism who has lived in exile since a failed 1959
uprising against Chinese rule, was behind the unrest if the
investigation has not yet concluded.

And he brushed aside a question on whether China would seek the Dalai
Lama's extradition from the northern Indian town of Dharamsala, where he
lives in exile.

Asked who would conduct the probe and how long it might last, Qin said:
"China is a country under the rule of law. Those lawless people cannot
run away from justice."

The lack of detail to back its version of events, and refusal to allow
journalists into Tibet or Tibetan parts of western China, highlight the
public relations challenge Beijing faces in winning international support.


China's preconditions on dialogue with the Dalai Lama also paint it into
a corner, as it insists on actions from Dharamsala that outside
observers say have already been met.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told his British counterpart, Gordon Brown,
in a telephone call on Wednesday that he would be prepared to enter into
a dialogue if the Dalai Lama renounced support for total independence
for Tibet and the use of violence.

But the Dalai Lama has long advocated a "middle way" in which he seeks
autonomy, not independence, for Tibet, which Chinese Communist troops
entered in 1950, and has asked Tibetans to eschew violent means of protest.

Qin said that was not good enough.

"He has said he is not a separatist. But all of his propositions and
actions prove that he has never stopped his splittist words and deeds,"
Qin said.

The Dalai Lama must "truly" abandon his stance, he added.

Analysts say a strategy of attacking the Dalai Lama is unlikely to
garner sympathy abroad, where the 72-year-old winner of the Nobel Peace
Prize is widely respected.

"Connecting him with the violence is not going to be an effective
strategy in winning the PR game," said Minxin Pei, director of the China
Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"He's a moderate, he's a voice for moderation, he's very respected, he's
sincere in his desire to see the Tibetan issue resolved," Pei said.

Qin said it was hypocritical to preach tolerance in the face of violent

"If those acts can be tolerated, is there any law in the world? Is there
any justice in the world?" he asked. "We hope the international
community can understand this point." (Editing by Alex Richardson)
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