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Chinese party boss delivers attack on Dalai Lama

July 3, 2008

By Christopher Bodeen
The Associated Press (AP)
July 2, 2008

BEIJING, July 2 -- China's Communist Party boss in Tibet delivered a
fresh attack on the Dalai Lama Wednesday, even as envoys of the
region's exiled leader met for a second day with Chinese officials
for talks aimed at easing tensions following anti-government riots.

The official Tibet Daily quoted hardliner Zhang Qingli as saying that
supporters of the Dalai Lama were behind the violence that began with
deadly rioting in Tibet's capital Lhasa on March 14 and quickly
spread throughout Tibetan areas of western China.

"The March 14 incident was a seriously violent criminal incident by
the Dalai clique. The organized and orchestrated incident was created
by Tibetan separatists after long-term preparation, with the support
and instigation of Western hostile forces," Zhang was quoted as saying.

He said the violence was timed for the run-up to next month's Summer
Olympics in Beijing.

"At a sensitive moment, they harbored the evil intention of turning
the incident into a bloodbath, of disrupting the Beijing Olympics and
destroying Tibet's stability and political harmony," Zhang said.

The remarks, which echo earlier Chinese accusations about the riots,
indicate no letup in Beijing's relentless campaign to vilify the 1989
Nobel Peace Prize laureate, despite talks this week that followed
widespread calls for dialogue from overseas.

The self-proclaimed Tibetan government-in-exile has said two days of
talks would be held in China's capital, but Chinese officials would
not confirm any details, including where the meetings would be held
or what the agenda was.

China denies the India-based government's legitimacy and does not
want such contacts portrayed as formal negotiations.

So far, neither side has commented on the talks. The Tibetan
government-in-exile, based in Dharmsala, India, has said Prime
Minister Samdhong Rinpoche was expected to comment only after the meetings end.

Calls to the Propaganda Office of the United Front Work Department, a
body within the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee which is
hosting the talks, were not answered Wednesday.

The talks have particular importance in light of China's hopes of
hosting a flawless Olympic Games. Some experts believe Beijing agreed
to the talks to ease criticism ahead of the games, in a nod to
international opinion that broadly regards the Dalai Lama as a figure
of moral authority.

Some world leaders have said they might boycott the opening ceremony
to protest the Chinese security crackdown in Tibetan areas of China
after anti-government. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said this
week he would attend if the latest talks made progress.

China has governed Tibet since communist troops marched into the
Himalayan region in the 1950s. The Dalai Lama, who fled to India amid
a failed uprising in 1959, has said he wants some form of autonomy
that would allow Tibetans to freely practice their culture, language
and religion.

The meetings this week follow informal talks held in early May in the
southern Chinese city of Shenzhen that ended with an offer from
Beijing for future discussions.

China has been accused of using heavy-handed tactics in quelling the
anti-government riots and protests in Tibet. Beijing says 22 people
died in the violence in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, while foreign
Tibet supporters say many times that number were killed in the
protests and a subsequent government crackdown.
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