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China launches "patriotic education" campaign in Lhasa to combat Dalai Lama

April 22, 2008

The Associated Press
Monday, April 21, 2008

BEIJING: China has launched a campaign in Tibet to denounce the Dalai
Lama and to strengthen ties between the public and the Communist Party,
the Tibet Daily reported Monday.

The two-month "patriotic education" will cover the capital Lhasa and
surrounding rural areas and will focus on strengthening relations
between Tibetans and local Communist Party officials, the newspaper said.

Group education sessions will be held to unify their thinking and
"deepen" the struggle against independence forces and hit back at the
"Dalai clique's splittist plots," it said.

China has stepped up so-called "patriotic campaigns" in monasteries in
Tibet requiring Tibetan Buddhist monks to denounce the Dalai Lama and
declare their loyalty to Beijing.

In place for more than a decade, the campaigns are believed to have
fueled recent protests by monks in Tibet and other Tibetan areas of
China that broke out on the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising,
during which the Dalai Lama fled to India.

The biggest protests in Tibet in two decades began peacefully among
Buddhist monks in Lhasa on March 10 before turning into a riot a few
days later. Beijing has blamed the violence on the Dalai Lama and his
supporters.

It says the Dalai Lama wants to split Tibet from China and sabotage this
summer's Beijing Olympics. It has launched a sustained attack on him in
the state media, and portrayed pre-Communist Tibet as feudal and devoid
of human rights.

The campaign is called "Oppose splittism, Protect stability, Encourage
development," the newspaper said.

Party members will educate rural people about the truth of the March 14
riots, the paper said.

They will use video and pictures, invite those who were involved in the
riots to talk and will also hold denunciation sessions, it said.

China said 22 people died in rioting in the Tibet capital of Lhasa on
March 14 when hundreds of shops torched and Chinese civilians attacked.

The Dalai Lama's government-in-exile denies any involvement in the
violence. It says more than 140 people were killed in the government
crackdown.
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