Chinese state media say Beijing is accusing the Dalai Lama of stirring up religious conflict in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery.

China's state-run Xinhua news agency reports Wednesday, a group of Buddhist monks smashed clay statues and protective deities at the Danden Monastery near the regional capital, Lhasa, in March.

The mayor of Lhasa says the incident was not isolated or accidental. He blames followers of the exiled spiritual leader for provoking the violence to arouse conflict between different sects of Tibetan Buddhism, and to sabotage the unity of Tibet.

There has been no public comment from the Dali Lama.

The conflict is over a Tibetan deity called Dorgje Shugden, which is worshipped by some Tibetan Buddhists, but denounced by the Dalai Lama.

Tibet's Communist Party secretary says the Dalai Lama's alleged action violates the religious freedom of believers.

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile since 1959, when he fled after a revolt against China's takeover of Tibet. China refuses to allow him to return, accusing him of being a separatist and working to split Tibet from the rest of China.