Dalai Lama vows to quit if unrest persists
The Dalai Lama threatened to resign Tuesday as the leader of the Tibetan government-in-exile if the violence that has erupted in his homeland...
Los Angeles Times
BEIJING — The Dalai Lama threatened to resign Tuesday as the leader of the Tibetan government-in-exile if the violence that has erupted in his homeland over the last week spirals out of control.
The spiritual leader made the statement on the day China's top leadership lashed out at him, charging that he has orchestrated Tibet's worst anti-China riots in two decades to sabotage August's Beijing Olympics.
"Please help stop violence from Chinese side and also from Tibetan side," the Dalai Lama pleaded before reporters in Dharamsala, India, the base of his government. "If things become out of control, then my only option is to completely resign."
Although few people think he is prepared to step down, there is a sense that his own advocacy of nonviolence and compromise with the Chinese government has run up against a younger generation of Tibetans looking for a new way out of the long-standing impasse with Beijing.
"His holiness is not young. Time is running out for Tibet. If China keeps on doing what it's [been] doing for the last 50 years, there is this thinking from the young that maybe his holiness' patience is not the solution," said Dalha Tsering, a coordinator for the Tibetan community in Britain. "That, however, doesn't mean their allegiance is minimizing; all it means is they are frustrated."
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday accused the Dalai Lama of hypocrisy but left open the door for dialogue if he recognized Tibet as part of China.
"You should not only look at what he says, but what he does," said Wen, who maintained that Chinese authorities have reacted with restraint to the riots.
Independent reporting from the region was impossible because of China's tight control over information and a ban on trips to the area by foreign reporters.
John Kenwood, a 19-year-old Canadian tourist who left Lhasa on Tuesday, said he saw street cleaners wearing orange vests emblazoned with the Beijing Olympics symbol.
"When the fighting began, you saw no Chinese," said Kenwood as he arrived in Nepal. "Now you see no Tibetans on the streets. The young Tibetans are probably hiding."
The Lhasa protests, led by Buddhist monks, began peacefully March 10, the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising. Tibet had been effectively independent for decades before Chinese communist troops imposed Beijing's control in 1950.
The demonstrations took a violent turn Friday, leaving 16 people dead and dozens injured, according to the Chinese government. The Dalai Lama's government-in-exile in India contends 80 Tibetans died.
"I know a relative who was shot three times because he was holding a Dalai Lama photo and marching toward the army," Tsering said in Britain. "If the world doesn't speak up, it will be another Burma," also known as Myanmar.
Despite Wen's charge that the Tibetan leader was seeking to sabotage the Beijing Olympics, the Dalai Lama early this week said China deserves to host the Olympics and that the Games should not be boycotted.
As Chinese military fanned out across western China in areas populated with Tibetans and began making arrests after violence broke out Friday, sympathy rallies spread in and outside of China.
Chinese state television reported Tuesday that 100 people had turned themselves in to police for their roles in "beating, smashing, looting and arson." This followed a midnight deadline issued by authorities for rioters to surrender themselves in exchange for more lenient treatment.
In India on Tuesday, more than 2,000 people gathered and called for a U.N. investigation into the reported killings of protesters by Chinese security forces. In Brussels, Belgium, several hundred demonstrators rallied outside the headquarters of the European Union, some waving flags that read "Stop Beijing Olympics game of death."
Critics of China's actions in Tibet say they are disappointed that the International Olympic Committee has not done more to hold China accountable.
On Tuesday, the rights group Reporters Without Borders called on world leaders to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.
Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.
Rights activist tried on subversion
BEIJING — Hu Jia, a human-rights activist and commentator, was tried in a Beijing court Tuesday on charges of inciting subversion against the Chinese government through his writings on the Internet.
Hu's lawyer, Li Fangping, said the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate Court would likely hand down its sentence in about a week. Hu, 34, who faces up to five years in prison, pleaded not guilty.
Hu was detained Dec. 27 in what was seen as part of a crackdown by Chinese security services to rid the Internet of dissidents in the lead-up to the Olympic Games in Beijing.
The Washington Post
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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