China Says It Has Evidence Dalai Lama Incited Riots
SHANGHAI — After two weeks in which China contended that Tibet’s government in exile had instigated the riots earlier this month to tarnish the coming Summer Olympics in Beijing, the Chinese government on Sunday issued for the first time what it said was evidence of the plot.
Xinhua, the state-run news agency, said the Chinese police had a confession written by an unidentified monk who they said received orders from supporters of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
In what an article described as the confession, the monk said: “For the sake of protecting myself, (the Dalai Lama clique) asked me not to participate in the demonstrations in person, just in charge of stirring people up.”
The Chinese government has not held a news conference to identify the monk or explain the circumstances of the confession, so it was not possible to verify either the existence of the monk or of such a statement.
For weeks, China has said it has strong evidence that the riots and protests in Tibet and neighboring regions were orchestrated by the “Dalai clique.”
The Tibetan government, based in Dharamsala, India, quickly dismissed such claims, saying that China was trying to pin blame on Tibetan exiles.
“These are baseless allegations,” Tenzin Taklha, the Dalai Lama’s secretary in Dharamsala, said in a telephone interview on Sunday. “Their spinmasters are trying to put the blame on us.”
Mr. Taklha called on China to allow an independent organization to investigate the accusations.
Since riots erupted March 14 in Lhasa, Tibet’s capital, journalists and diplomats have been prevented from traveling freely in Tibet and neighboring regions with large Tibetan populations, some of which have faced serious unrest.
Pressure continues to mount for China to negotiate with the Dalai Lama and find a solution to a problem that has already begun to affect preparations for the Olympics. China has tried to convince other countries that the Dalai Lama’s supporters are behind the unrest and that they finance and equip separatists inside China.
On Saturday, China said it had seized a cache of guns, ammunition, explosives and sophisticated communications equipment at a Buddhist monastery in Sichuan Province, a part of southwestern China that has been the scene of Tibetan protests.
The police in Katmandu, the capital of Nepal, scuffled Sunday with Tibetan protesters near the Chinese Embassy. More than 100 people, some of whom were chanting pro-independence slogans, were detained, Reuters reported.
In Athens, protesters tried to disrupt the Olympic torch ceremony, as Greece handed over the flame to China. The government plans to hold a ceremony in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Monday, before the Olympic torch begins its journey around the world.
European Union foreign ministers, meeting in Slovenia over the weekend, also called for an end to violence in Tibet and for talks between China and the Dalai Lama.
But Chinese leaders continue to take a hard-line approach. They contend that the Dalai Lama and his government in exile have orchestrated a violent separatist campaign, resulting in the recent clashes that killed about 20 people and wounded hundreds in Lhasa and neighboring regions.
Tibetan groups say China’s harsh suppression of the protests and riots has killed more than 140 people and has resulted in the detention and harassment of hundreds of Tibetans, including monks.
The Chinese government also said it had arrested 26 people suspected of rioting in Aba County, Sichuan Province.
There seems to be little room for compromise. China says the Dalai Lama has walked away from negotiations and has lied. For his part, the Dalai Lama says that he does not support violence, that he supports having the Olympic Games in Beijing and that he is willing to negotiate.
Group Tries to Block Torch
ATHENS — Shouting “Free Tibet” and flashing red banners reading “Stop Genocide in Tibet,” demonstrators charged a police cordon here on Sunday, trying to block the Olympic flame from making its final 100-yard run into a sprawling marble arena.
Backed by riot squads, scores of police officers detained 10 of an estimated 15 demonstrators, taking them to Greece’s national police headquarters minutes after the ceremony began.
Greece carried out a major security operation for the event, deploying more than 1,000 police officers and changing the flame’s route at least three times.
Yet even before the handover began, three supporters of Falun Gong were detained outside Panathinaiko Stadium for distributing leaflets on the spiritual movement outlawed in China.