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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China lashes Dalai Lama's demands for autonomy

December 5, 2008

BEIJING, Dec 4, 2008 (Reuters) - China says there is no chance of embracing the Dalai Lama's demands for autonomy for Tibet, using the state media to condemn the exiled Buddhist leader's stance ahead of his meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
 
Two commentaries issued by the official Xinhua news agency on Thursday were the latest blast in Beijing's campaign against the Dalai Lama, who demands "high-level autonomy" for his mountain homeland, giving Tibetans self-rule under Chinese sovereignty.
 
Chinese officials denounced the Dalai Lama's position after his envoys presented them in a "Memorandum for all Tibetans to enjoy genuine autonomy" during talks last month.
 
Now Beijing has issued the longer official counter-blasts ahead of the Dalai Lama's trip to Poland, where he will meet Sarkozy on Saturday.
 
China has demanded that Sarkozy pull out of the meeting and called off Monday's long-planned summit with the European Union in Lyons in protest.
 
The Xinhua commentaries claim the Dalai Lama ignores the religious and political freedoms that China affords Tibetans and say accepting his demands would risk dangerous ethnic splits.
 
"By waving the banner of implementing ethnic regional autonomy in China, insisting on political demands for a so-called 'greater Tibet' and 'high-level autonomy', the Dalai Lama is totally violating the fundamental interests of the Tibetan people," one of the commentaries said. "This has no future."
 
The Dalai Lama and other supporters of Tibetan self-rule say China is strangling the mountain region's cultural and religious traditions and subordinating Tibetans to an influx of Han Chinese migrants and investment.
 
The Dalai Lama fled into exile in 1959 after a failed insurrection against Chinese rule in Tibet, occupied by People's Liberation Army troops from 1950. China accuses his supporters of stirring unrest in March, claims the Dalai Lama has rejected.
 
Speaking to Reuters in Brussels on Wednesday, he repeated claims that China had perpetrated "cultural genocide" in Tibet.
 
The Xinhua commentary on religion in Tibet accused the Dalai Lama of seeking to restore theocracy there and ignoring China's respect for religious freedoms. Tibet had 1,780 monasteries and other Buddhist sites, with 46,000 monks and nuns, it said.
 
"Without genuine freedom of religion and belief, this would be impossible," it said. (Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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