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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Olympics-China rejects Games link with Tibet, Sudan

January 26, 2008

BEIJING, Jan 24, 2008 (Reuters) - China on Thursday defended its
policies in Tibet and its relations with the government of Sudan, saying
it was wrong for activists to seize on the issues as a way to pressure
Beijing ahead of the Olympic Games in August.

The Dalai Lama told Britain's ITV last week in an interview that Tibet
supporters should protest peacefully in China against Beijing's rule in
the mountainous region during the Olympics.

But a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman repeated the government's
position that the Dalai Lama, seen as the spiritual leader of Tibetan
Buddhism, was a separatist and a traitor.

"He has explicitly shown in words and deeds that he's a political exile,
long-engaged in separatist activities," spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a news
conference.

"We hope relevant countries will recognise his nature and will not
support his activities."

The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against
Chinese Communist rule in Tibet, where critics say Beijing curbs
religious and political freedoms.

Jiang also rejected attempts to link the Olympics with Beijing's
policies in Sudan, the war-torn country where China has oil investments
and close ties with the government.

"To link the Darfur issue with the Olympics is a move to politicise the
Olympics. This is inconsistent with the Olympic spirit and principles
and will bear no fruit," she said.

More than four years of conflict in Sudan's western region of Darfur
have left 200,000 dead and driven another 2.5 million from their homes,
according to estimates from international experts. Khartoum says 9,000
people have died.

Jiang said China's ties with the government did not mean it was
fomenting the conflict in Darfur, adding that China was taking an active
part in the multilateral peacekeeping force now deployed in Sudan.

"On the issue of Darfur, the international community knows very well
that China is playing a constructive role," she said.

Asked if China has used its leverage with Sudan to condemn it over
allegations that government forces attacked a U.N.-African Union convoy
earlier this month, Jiang said "various problems and difficulties" with
the peacekeeping force were natural.

Sudan has denied the U.N. accusations that its forces staged the attack,
pointing the finger at Chadian-backed rebels instead.

(Reporting by Lindsay Beck; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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