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China Blames Dalai Lama for Lack of Tibet Progress   

China says no progress was made at recent talks with representatives of the Dalai Lama. The Chinese government is accusing the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader of ultimately seeking independence of the Himalayan region. Stephanie Ho reports from Beijing.

Chinese government official Zhu Weiqun said Beijing considers the Dalai Lama's plan for autonomy tantamount to pursuing independence for Tibet. He says this is something China will never accept.

Zhu says the door for Tibet independence, half independence or covert independence is not open, nor will it be open in the future.

Zhu is vice minister of the Chinese Communist Party's United Front Work Department, which oversees the party's dealings with non-Communist groups. He spoke at a news conference Monday in Beijing.

Another United Front Work Department official, Si Ta, told reporters China is especially unhappy with the pro-Tibet disruptions during the Beijing Olympics.

Si accuses what he called "the Dalai side" of organizing 60-thousand people to demonstrate outside Chinese diplomatic missions abroad, centered on the Olympics, last August.

He also accuses what he calls "the Dalai group" of organizing foreigners to stage disruptive activities outside Olympic venues and on Tiananmen Square.

These are the first official Chinese comments since a round of talks between Beijing and Dalai Lama envoys ended, last week.

The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959, following a failed uprising against Chinese rule. He has publicly and repeatedly said he does not seek Tibetan independence from China, but says he wants meaningful autonomy that would ensure the survival of the region's unique Buddhist culture.

Tibetan exile groups are set to meet next week to discuss the future of their cause.

The Dalai Lama has recently expressed pessimism about his efforts to seek autonomy for Tibet, under Chinese sovereignty. Some Tibetans have grown impatient with his approach and insist that Tibet was an independent nation before Communist troops invaded in 1950.

China maintains that Tibet has been part of its territory for centuries.