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China renews Dalai Lama criticism

May 5, 2008

BBC News
May 3, 2008

Chinese state media has renewed its criticism of Tibetan spiritual
leader, the Dalai Lama, as two of his envoys prepare to meet Chinese
officials.

The Tibet Daily repeated accusations that the Dalai Lama had
masterminded anti-Chinese riots in Tibet in March. This is a charge he
denies.

The Tibetan government-in-exile said his envoys would convey his
suggestions for bringing peace to Tibet.

Sunday's talks will be the first such contact since the protests.

Western governments have been pressing China to renew dialogue with the
Dalai Lama.

There have been six meetings between China and the Dalai Lama's envoys
since 2002, but no breakthrough.

The Tibetan envoys "will convey His Holiness the Dalai Lama's deep
concerns about the Chinese authorities' handling of the situation and
also provide suggestions to bring peace to the region," a statement from
the Dalai Lama's office in Dharamsala, India, said.

There has been no official comment from China about the talks. A
spokesman for the Dalai Lama told Japan's Kyodo News agency that the
envoys had arrived in Hong Kong and that the meeting would take place in
the southern city of Shenzhen.

China's state controlled media meanwhile continued to heap criticism on
the Dalai Lama:

"Patriotic people of Tibet strongly condemn and vehemently denounce the
litany of crimes committed by the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and his
followers," said the official Tibet Daily.

Autonomy demands

Anti-China protests led by Buddhist monks began in Lhasa on 10 March and
gradually escalated into rioting.

China says at least 19 people were killed by the rioters - but Tibetan
exiles say that nearly 100 were killed by the Chinese security forces as
they moved to quell the unrest.

The unrest was the worst in the region in 20 years.

The Chinese government blamed the Dalai Lama and his followers for
inciting the trouble, saying their goal was to undermine the forthcoming
Beijing Olympics and promote Tibetan independence.

"The Dalai clique's hopes of achieving Tibetan independence are
increasingly dim, and at this time when their hopes have been destroyed,
the Dalai clique launched a bloody violent event - their last bout of
madness," the Tibet Daily said on Saturday.

After the riots, pro-Tibetan protesters threw China's global Olympic
torch relay into disarray as it passed through several cities, including
London, Paris and San Francisco.

The Dalai Lama has repeated his position that he wants increased
autonomy for Tibet within China, not independence.

He and the Tibetan government-in-exile have been based in India since
fleeing Tibet in 1959.
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