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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 Says Dalai Lama Rejects Dialogue

March 31, 2008

China Accuses Dalai Lama of Closing Door to Talks Following New Tibet
Protests

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN
The Associated Press
March 30, 2008

BEIJING

Chinese state media accused the Dalai Lama on Sunday of closing the door
to talks over Tibet's future, an apparent response to rising
international calls for Beijing to negotiate with Tibet's exiled
Buddhist leader.

In a lengthy article, Xinhua News Agency cited past actions and
statements attributed to the 72-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner that
it said contradicted or undermined his calls for negotiations.

"It was the Dalai Lama clique that closed the door of dialogue," Xinhua
said, using China's standard term for the Tibetan government-in-exile.

The statement came a day before the arrival in Beijing of the Olympic
torch, which has become a magnet for Tibetan activists and other groups
seeking to use the August Games to draw attention to their cause.

China has accused the Dalai Lama of orchestrating protests in Tibet's
regional capital Lhasa and other heavily Tibetan areas that started
peacefully among Buddhist monks, but turned deadly on March 14. Beijing
says 22 people were killed in Lhasa, while Tibetan exiles put the
overall death toll at 140.

China's Premier Wen Jiabao told Hong Kong media in Laos Sunday that
Lhasa is "basically stable," and that "social order has returned to normal."

Wen reiterated China's position that it is open to talks with the Dalai
Lama if he gives up his desire for independence, and acknowledges that
Tibet and Taiwan are inseparable from China.

Officials with Lhasa's municipal government described the city as calm
Sunday, a day after a protest reportedly broke out at a monastery there.
The officials said they were sending text messages to area residents
telling them not to "believe or pass on rumors of unrest."

A woman who answered the phone at Lhasa government headquarters said the
reported protest on Saturday was merely a rumor.

"You shouldn't believe such things," said the woman, who hung up without
giving her name. No new incidents were reported on Sunday.

Xinhua said in another report Sunday that a suspect in the riots
confessed that the security department of the Tibetan
government-in-exile asked him to distribute leaflets about the "Tibetan
people's uprising movement" to monasteries and laypeople in Tibet that
encouraged the March 14 riots.

The Dalai Lama has condemned the violence and urged an independent
investigation into the protests, the most serious anti-Chinese
demonstrations in the region since 1989.

Xinhua said late Saturday police had found guns and explosives at a
monastery in Aba county in western Sichuan province, where state media
first acknowledged police had fired at protesters March 16, wounding four.

The police found 30 guns, hundreds of bullets, along with explosives and
knifes at the Geerdeng monastery Friday, Xinhua said. Flags of Tibet's
government-in-exile and banners with "Tibet Independence" written on
them were also found in monks' rooms, the report said. Police
confiscated satellite phones, receivers for overseas TV channels, as
well as fax machines and computers, the report said.

Calls to the monastery rang unanswered and officers who answered the
phone at police headquarters in Aba county and the surrounding
prefecture said they had no information about the reports.

"The monastery has been very quiet these days," said a woman who
answered the phone at county police headquarters. None of the officers
gave their names as is common among Chinese government officials.

While Beijing has imposed a massive military clampdown, a new protest
was reported to have broken out Saturday in Lhasa as diplomats wrapped
up a visit organized by Beijing in an effort to blunt criticism of its
handling of the unrest.

According to the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet, the
demonstration at Lhasa's Ramoche monastery lasted several hours. Calls
to Ramoche rang unanswered on Sunday and receptionists at hotels in the
area said the monastery was closed to the public.

People also protested at the Jokhang Temple, a major Buddhist site in
Lhasa, the Tibetan government-in-exile said on its Web site.

Diplomats from the United States, Japan and Europe returned to Beijing
on Saturday after a tightly controlled two-day visit to Lhasa.

The diplomats toured damaged areas of the city and met people selected
by Chinese authorities, who accompanied them at all times, the American
Embassy said in a brief written statement. It gave no other details but
repeated Washington's appeal to China to show restraint.

The unrest has been a public relations disaster for communist leaders,
who want to use the Olympics to showcase China as a prosperous, stable
society.

A group of foreign reporters was taken on a similar trip to Lhasa
earlier in the week. That effort backfired when about 30 monks burst
into a briefing room shouting that there was no religious freedom in Tibet.

The protests, led by monks, began peacefully March 10, on the
anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule. Tibet had
been effectively independent for decades before Chinese communist troops
entered in 1950.

The United States and other foreign government's have urged Beijing to
talk with the Dalai Lama, who has repeatedly said he would be willing to
meet with Chinese officials.

Meanwhile, officials were tightening up security for the Olympic torch's
Monday arrival in Beijing, requiring journalists covering the event to
pick up their accreditation in person.

The torch is due to arrive in Beijing aboard an Air China plane and be
displayed at a gala ceremony in Tiananmen Square, the heart of the
Chinese capital.
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