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China Criticizes Dalai Lama on Eve of Tibetan New Year

  • Stephanie Ho

China is accusing Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, of trying to undermine stability, even as Chinese security forces are on high alert in Tibetan areas of China in advance of the Tibetan New Year, Wednesday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told reporters Tuesday that the situation in Tibet is fine.

Ma says Tibet enjoys social stability and economic growth. He says the people there are enjoying a good life.

His comments come as Tibetan rights groups say thousands of extra Chinese security forces have been sent to Tibet and to Tibetan areas in western China, ahead of the Tibetan New Year, Losar. The two-week holiday begins Wednesday.

At the same time, foreigners find it nearly impossible to travel there - not only to Tibet, but also to Tibetan areas western China that are supposed to be open to visitors from abroad.

The Chinese spokesman says opponents of Chinese authority in Tibet will not change things there.

Ma says efforts by what he calls "the Dalai clique" to create rumors to ruin stability in Tibet are doomed to failure.

He says the Chinese government is fully confident for Tibet's future, in what he describes as "the big family of the Motherland."

Next month marks the first anniversary of protests and a Chinese crackdown that left at least 19 people dead. March also will be the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama's flight to India, following a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

China accuses the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader of seeking independence for his homeland and blames him for organizing last year's violent protests against Chinese rule.

The Dalai Lama denies inciting violent protests in China and says he does not seek independence for Tibet. He says he only seeks greater cultural and religious autonomy for his homeland, where he remains widely revered.


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