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Tibetan officials say Dalai Lama wants to sabatoge Olympics

March 8, 2008

BEIJING, March 7 (AP) -- Chinese officials accused the Dalai Lama,
Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, of trying to sabotage this summer's
Beijing Olympics, suggesting Friday they are prepared to take harsh
measures against any group causing instability in the Himalayan

The ruling Communist Party routinely accuses the Dalai Lama of trying
to undermine Chinese authority by pushing for independence for Tibet,
although he says he wants meaningful autonomy for the region, not

"China earned the qualifications in order to host the Olympics. But he
is even trying to sabotage this important event and spread rumors,"
said Zhang Qingli, the region's Communist Party secretary, its top

Zhang did not say how the Dalai Lama was trying to sabotage the Games,
which are five months away.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate reportedly told British broadcaster ITV
News earlier this year that protests at the Olympics could highlight
government policies he says are eroding Tibet's traditional Buddhist

Tibet will be highlighted during the Olympic torch relay, which
follows an ambitious route that includes a stop at the top of Mount
Everest, which straddles the border between Tibet and Nepal.

Activists have indicated they may use the high-profile event to air
their grievances against the Chinese government. But the head of
China's armed police command in Tibet, Kang Jingzhong, warned against
any protests.

"If there is an unstable element in Tibet, for example, the sabotage
activities of the Dalai clique, then under these special and
individual circumstances we will take corresponding measures to uphold
stability," he said.

Zhang and Kang spoke at a meeting at Beijing's Great Hall of the
People with delegates attending the annual session of the National
People's Congress, China's ceremonial legislature.

Chinese Communist troops occupied Tibet in 1951 and Beijing continues
to rule the region with a heavy hand. Beijing enforces strict controls
on religious institutions and routinely vilifies the Dalai Lama, who
fled to India in 1959 amid an aborted uprising against Chinese rule
and won the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize.

China says it has ruled Tibet for centuries, although many Tibetans
say their homeland was essentially an independent state for most of
that time.
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