Wen blames Tibet unrest on Dalai Lama

Wen blames Tibet unrest on Dalai Lama

By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing and Amy Yee in Dharamsala

Published: 05:46 | Last updated: 17:11

Wen Jiabao, China’s premier, on Tuesday blamed the Dalai Lama for the worst unrest in Tibet in nearly two decades, and characterised the protests as a plot to sabotage the Olympic Games in Beijing this year.

The incident “has all the more revealed that the assertions by the Dalai clique that they desire peaceful negotiation are nothing but lies”, Mr Wen said in his annual press conference on Tuesday. “Their hypocritical lies cannot cover the iron-clad facts.”

The Dalai Lama, the Himalayan region’s exiled spiritual leader, denied any involvement in the riots, urging Tibetans to exercise restraint

Video: Tibet clashes


A Tibetan official gives a government account of the unrest

“If things become out of control I will resign,” the Dalai Lama said on Tuesday at a press conference in Dharamsala, the northern Indian town that is home to Tibet’s government-in-exile. “You investigate who is a liar... I want to ask [Wen], please show proof,” said the Dalai Lama. He invited the Chinese premier to investigate his files and “all records of my speech”.

The Dalai Lama has also repeatedly said he does not support a boycott of the Olympic Games in August.

The protests started in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, as peaceful demonstrations led by Buddhist monks last Monday, the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule. They turned into widespread ­violence on Friday following reports of a Chinese crackdown.

Mr Wen said government and security officials had exercised “extreme restraint” in dealing with protesters, despite claims from Tibetan groups that scores and possibly hundreds of Tibetans had been killed and security forces had opened fire on crowds.

By Tuesday, Beijing’s official death toll was 16, including 13 “innocent civilians” killed by protesters.

In response to a question from the Financial Times, Mr Wen ruled out direct talks with the Dalai Lama unless he renounced all Tibetan independence activities and recognised Tibet and Taiwan as inalienable parts of China.

The Dalai Lama has consistently said his goal is true autonomy under Chinese rule for the so-called Tibetan Autonomous Region, and he does not support full Tibetan independence, which many protesters have been calling for in recent days.

Mr Wen said he appreciated the steps taken by India to limit the independence activities of the “Dalai clique” and hoped the country would stick to agreements with China concerning anti-Chinese demonstrations on Indian soil.

In Lhasa on Tuesday, the situation was mostly calm and residents were returning to work after days of curfew, according to residents.

Chinese troops and security officers were out in force across other ethnically Tibetan parts of the country and a curfew had been imposed in some parts of the restive, mostly Muslim, province of Xinjiang, according to the International Campaign for Tibet.

In Nepal, police arrested about 50 protesters who were calling for a UN investigation into the crackdown, according to agency reports.

In Beijing on Tuesday, security in Tiananmen Square was unusually tight and many buses had uniformed police on board.

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