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China to Punish Communist Officials Who Support Dalai Lama

FILE - The Dalai Lama gestures before speaking to students during a talk at Mumbai University.

China is threatening to punish Communist Party members loyal to exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing regards as a dangerous separatist.

Ye Dongsong, with the party's internal discipline watchdog, warned Tibet authorities to focus on "neutralizing separatists and maintaining social stability."

Ye's comments were published in the Global Times, which quoted analysts who said, "Some officials in Tibet still sympathize with the Dalai Lama" because of their religious beliefs.

The article provided no estimation of how many Communist Party officials have sympathies or links with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

Viewed as 'terrorist'

Beijing views the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, as a "terrorist" who encourages violence and wants to split the Chinese state.

The Dalai Lama rejects the charges, saying he only advocates greater autonomy and respect for the religious rights of Tibetans.

More than 130 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009. The Tibetans are protesting Chinese rule and what they view as government repression of their religion and culture.

China denied the charges and said the suicide protests are acts of terrorism.