Dalai Lama claims ‘genocide’ in Tibet, protests world over

March 16th, 2008 - 8:58 pm ICT by admin  

(Lead)

Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), March 16 (IANS) Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama Sunday accused China of committing “cultural genocide” in his homeland and demanded an international probe into the crackdown. “We want an international investigation into the recent happenings and actions (in Tibet) by the Chinese authorities in the past few days,” the Dalai Lama told reporters in this northern hill town where his government-in-exile is based.

“China is committing cultural genocide in Tibet. The authorities are also imposing a lot of restrictions on education in monasteries,” he said, breaking his silence on anti-China protests in Tibet that according to Beijing have left some 10 people dead.

The Dalai Lama said the Chinese security forces might have killed around 100 people in the past few days. He said the figures were confirmed by his sources in Tibet.

Massive protests have engulfed large parts of Lhasa and Tibet, challenging Beijing’s rule in the region. This has also sparked demonstrations by Tibetans living in exile in several countries.

“It is the moral responsibility of the world to remind China of the human rights violations in Tibet,” the Dalai Lama said, adding that the ancient cultural heritage was facing serious danger at the hands of the Chinese.

“Even though the Tibetans were at the receiving end, they are being made scapegoats,” said the Tibetan leader, who fled his homeland in 1959 and lives in India along with some 100,000 Tibetan exiles.

He dismissed Chinese allegations that he was behind the separatist movement in Tibet. “I have no power over protestors in Tibet.”

“I feel a little helpless and worried as the Chinese deadline to end protests ends Monday. (China) has warned of dire consequences,” the Dalai Lama said.

“Stability in Tibet must come from the heart and not from fiscal control alone,” he said, adding a new generation of Tibetans was losing its patience with the Chinese.

“I reiterate the demand of autonomy for Tibet, not independence. Only Beijing doesn’t seem to understand this even though the entire world does.”

The Dalai Lama, however, refused to endorse some international calls for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics in August. He said he wanted the games to take place as scheduled.

The Dalai Lama was diplomatically critical of India’s cautious response to the events in Tibet. India, he said, “was sometimes too cautious” on Tibet.

Meanwhile, the Tibetan government-in-exile here claimed that at least 80 protestors have been killed in Tibet.

Sources in the government-in-exile said: “We have information that at least 26 bodies had been recovered at Drachi on the outskirts of Lhasa.”

“Bodies of six monks have been found at another place as the protests are spreading to the interior areas of Tibet. At least 80 people have been killed in the past few days,” the source said.

“We are worried about the killings, particularly as the deadline of the Chinese government to end violence expires Monday,” the source added.

Lhasa wore a ghostly look Sunday as hundreds of armed policemen and soldiers patrolled the streets of the Tibetan capital two days after protestors torched buildings and stoned Chinese residents.

Hong Kong Cable TV reported that some 200 military vehicles, carrying 40-60 armed soldiers each, drove into the city centre of Lhasa.

Television pictures showed the streets were mostly empty other than the troops. Messages on loudspeakers warned residents to “discern between enemies and friends, maintain order,” and “have a clear stand to oppose violence, maintain stability”.

Protests and fiery speeches continued in many parts of the world, including Dharamasala and New Delhi. A march from Dharamsala to Tibet continued in Himachal Pradesh’s Una district.

“Today 44 Tibetan marchers covered 18 km and have halted at Kantipur and will begin early Monday,” Tenzin Palkyi told IANS.

In New York, protestors turned violent and attacked the Chinese Consulate at Manhattan by throwing rocks at the building. The angry Tibetans were demanding freedom from Chinese rule.

Anti-China protests in Tibet began a week ago on the 49th anniversary of the uprising against Chinese rule that was suppressed violently by security forces after protesters including monks attacked government property in Lhasa.

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