China: 'the Dalai Lama is scheming to take the Beijing Olympics hostage'

Monday, March 24, 2008

File:Tenzin Gyatzo foto 1.jpg

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

The government of China has claimed that the Dalai Lama is cooperating with Islamic extremists as part of a plot to bring the country into crises before the Olympic Games, which are due to be half in Beijing this Summer. The official newspaper of the government of China claimed that "the Dalai Lama is scheming to take the Beijing Olympics hostage to force the Chinese government to make concessions to Tibet independence."

This move comes after Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, vowed to step down from his position if things "get out of control" in Tibet, where violent demonstrations against China have killed anywhere from 13 to 100 people.

The protests, which began in Lhasa, have since spread to neighboring provinces. In Aba, Sichuan, one witness reported 17 deaths. "Earlier today, the whole town was teeming with police and soldiers," he said. "All the shops have been closed. There are no arrests that I know of ... People are anticipating that something big is going to happen." Elsewhere in Sichuan, thousands of Tibetans turned out in the streets of Seda, according to the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy.

The international community has repeatedly urged China to use restraint in dealing with protesters, and to start talks with the Dalai Lama. United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Monday, "We have really urged the Chinese over several years to find a way to talk with the Dalai Lama, who is a figure of authority, who is not a separatist, and to find a way to engage him and bring his moral weight to a more sustainable and better solution of the Tibet issue."