Dalai Lama repeats resignation threat

The Dalai Lama reiterated on Sunday in Seattle that he is ready to quit as Tibet's spiritual leader if violence gets out of control, saying "if the majority of people commit violence, then I resign."



BEIJING, April 13  - Chinese media denounced the Dalai Lama and his supporters on Sunday as “anti-human rights”, and branded top U.S. politician Nancy Pelosi as “the least popular person in China” for her stance on Tibet.


The belligerent commentaries by the official Xinhua news agency came the day after Beijing said nine Buddhist monks had been arrested for bombing a government building in Tibet.


A Tibetan source with strong contacts in its capital, Lhasa, said the city was swirling with reports of fresh clashes between monks and security forces at the important Drepung monastery.


Neither the monastery nor the local police station could be reached for comment.


Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, of orchestrating March 14 riots in Lhasa and the unrest that followed in other ethnic Tibetan areas, as part of a bid for independence and to ruin the Olympic Games.


The Dalai Lama, 72, says he wants autonomy for Tibet, not a separate state, and denies he was behind the unrest, which China says killed 19 people. Exiled Tibetans give a far higher death toll.


The Dalai Lama told a news conference in Seattle on Sunday he would resign as leader of Tibet’s government in exile if violence in his homeland spread out of control.


“If violence becomes out of control then my only option is to resign,” the Nobel peace laureate said. “If the majority of people commit violence, then I resign.”


He made a similar threat last month.


Xinhua earlier denounced the Dalai Lama as a sham and said he dreamed of restoring the Tibetan feudal system of serfdom.


“It is indeed the anti-human rights nature of the Dalai clique that impels the ‘pro-Tibet independence’ separatists to undermine China’s stability and unity, disgrace China worldwide, and even sabotage the Olympic torch relay by all sorts of violent means,” the English-language commentary said.


China has gone on the offensive in the face of mounting international criticism of its handling of the deadly riots, wider unrest and a subsequent crackdown, which is clouding the run-up to the Olympic Games in August.







Beijing considers its Western critics, who have raised pressure on leaders to boycott the Games’ opening ceremony and marred part of a global torch relay with chaotic protests, are unfairly mixing sports and politics.


The Dalai Lama repeated on Friday that he opposed a boycott of the Beijing Olympics, but that has cut little ice with the Chinese authorities.


Chinese television on Sunday showed reporters searching for people it said were listed by the Dalai Lama’s supporters as victims of the riot and the government crackdown that followed.


Five who were listed with their Lhasa addresses were either alive or invented, state television said.


Foreign journalists are currently barred from Tibet so Reuters cannot verify reports of casualties.


Xinhua also targeted Pelosi, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, after she backed a resolution urging dialogue with the Dalai Lama, the end of a crackdown on non-violent protesters and a halt to repression in the region.


The People’s Daily accused the California Democrat of cynical double standards and said she would likely top any Chinese poll to find “the most disgusting figure.”


“Pelosi would remain the least popular person for China if she stiff-neckedly clings to her double standards and an anti-China stance,” the commentary added.

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