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China's PR machine cranks up role of Dalai Lama in violence

March 24, 2008

BEIJING: March 24, 2008 (Reuters) China has accused the Dalai Lama of
planning bloodshed in Tibet and colluding with Uighur terrorists in
Xinjiang as it pushes a security and propaganda drive to stifle
anti-Chinese unrest in its remote west.

The monk-led anti-Chinese protests erupted in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, on
March 10 and spilled into Chinese provinces populated by Tibetans.

As Beijing extinguishes the sometimes violent unrest in Tibetan areas by
pouring in troops, it is also intensifying a propaganda campaign to tell
its citizens, and the rest of the world, that it blames Tibet's exiled
Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, rather than failings in Government policy.

The Dalai Lama has criticised the violence and said he wanted talks with
China to negotiate autonomy, but not independence, for his homeland,
which has been occupied by Chinese troops since 1950. The ruling Chinese
Communist Party's official newspaper, the People's Daily, said the Dalai
Lama - a Nobel peace laureate - had never abandoned violence since
fleeing China in 1959, after a failed revolt against Beijing.

"This incident again demonstrates that the so-called 'peaceful
non-violence' of the Dalai clique is an outright lie from start to end,"
the paper said. "The Dalai Lama is scheming to take the Beijing Olympics
hostage to force the Chinese government to make concessions to Tibet
independence."

The paper earlier accused the Dalai Lama of planning terrorist attacks
with the aid of Uighur separatists seeking an independent East Turkestan
for their largely Muslim people in north-west China's Xinjiang region.

China's efforts to denounce the Dalai Lama have drawn applause from many
Han Chinese who have said Western critics failed to appreciate their
Government's efforts to develop Tibet and had treated the violence in
Lhasa as legitimate protest.

But the campaign has begun to draw some domestic critics. On Saturday a
group of 29 dissidents urged Beijing to end the propaganda, allow United
Nations investigators into Tibet, and open direct dialogue with the
Dalai Lama. "In our opinion, Cultural Revolution-style language … is of
no help in easing the situation," they wrote in a petition issued on the
internet, referring to the lurid language used against foes during Mao
Zedong's era.

They said Tibetan anti-Chinese protests in the 1980s were limited to
Lhasa, but this time had spread to provinces near Tibet, which showed
"serious mistakes" were being made.
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