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China issues call to crush Tibetan 'separatists'

February 21, 2009

February 19, 2009

BEIJING (AFP) — China has ordered government and security forces in
Tibet to crush any signs of support for the Dalai Lama, state media said
Thursday, as the tense 50th anniversary of an anti-Chinese uprising nears.

A conference of Tibetan leaders ordered authorities to "mobilise and
fully deploy" to maintain stability, the Tibet Daily said, in a possible
indication China fears unrest ahead of the March 10 anniversary.

"The meeting called on the party, government, military, police and
public in all areas... to firmly crush the savage aggression of the
Dalai clique, defeat separatism, and wage people's war to maintain
stability," the paper said of the meeting in Lhasa.

The report gave no details on any security measures.

It said the order was aimed at ensuring stability for the 50th
anniversary of social reforms introduced to supplant the Dalai Lama-led
Buddhist system.

However, those reforms followed the failed uprising that began on March
10, 1959, and forced the Dalai Lama to flee into exile.

China is maintaining ultra-tight security on the Himalayan region ahead
of the anniversary of the uprising, which was crushed by Chinese forces.
The Tibetan government-in-exile says the Chinese army killed 87,000
people in the crackdown.

China has ruled Tibet since 1951, a year after sending troops in to
"liberate" the region from serfdom.

The Tibetan security meeting said the overarching task for Tibetan
authorities this year was to "resolutely go toe-to-toe in a battle
against all destructive separatist activities to maintain stability."

A separate editorial by the Tibet Daily, the ruling Communist Party's
main mouthpiece in Tibet, also called for a toughened stance.

"We must maintain heavy pressure on criminal violators from start to
finish," said the editorial, which focused on the "separatist" threat.

China maintains that the Dalai Lama, who remains revered by Tibetans, is
a dangerous separatist bent on independence for Tibet, a charge he denies.

But the Tibetan spiritual leader this month warned of a possible
uprising in his homeland amid anger over a Chinese crackdown put in
place after violent anti-Chinese riots erupted across Tibet on last
year's anniversary.

"It is so tense that the Chinese military have their hands on the
trigger when they carry weapons... So long as there is a Chinese
military presence, there will be tension," he said in Germany.

In a sign of the tension, police clashed with Tibetans in neighbouring
Sichuan province this week after protests in support of the Dalai Lama,
according to witnesses and activist groups.

The unrest in Litang county was the first reported major outbreak of
violence ahead of the anniversary and led to up to two dozen arrests,
the activist groups said.

Chinese authorities regularly accuse the Dalai Lama of inciting
separatist unrest in Tibet, but he says discontent stems from what he
calls Beijing's campaign to extinguish traditional Tibetan culture.

Another Tibet Daily report said the Tibet branch of the state Buddhist
Association of China on Wednesday revised its charter to require all
nuns and lamas to reject the Dalai Lama.

The revision calls on monks to "see clearly that the 14th Dalai Lama is
the ringleader" of Tibetan separatists and "a loyal tool of anti-China
Western forces, the root cause of social unrest in Tibet, and the
biggest obstacle to building up Tibetan Buddhism."
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