China tells Dalai Lama to stop ‘sabotaging Olympics’

China requires the Dalai Lama to stop sabotaging the Olympics as a condition for talks, Chinese President Hu Jintao told his United States counterpart, George Bush, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Hu’s demand, made in a telephone conversation with Bush on Wednesday, appeared to mark a new addition to a list of actions the exiled Tibetan leader must undertake before China is willing to talk with him.

“China’s position is clear and consistent,” Hu told Bush, according to a statement on the Foreign Ministry’s website posted late on Wednesday.

Hu was quoted as giving a list of conditions often cited by China for talks between the two parties, and then went on to say “especially [he] must stop … activities to sabotage the Beijing Olympic Games”.

The Dalai Lama must also stop “fanning and masterminding ongoing violent criminal activities in Tibet and in some other regions”, Hu told Bush.

The statement came amid two weeks of deadly unrest in Tibet and surrounding areas populated by Tibetans, in protest over 57 years of Chinese rule.

“This incident is not a ‘peaceful demonstration’ or a ‘non-violent’ activity, as claimed by the Dalai Lama clique, but is a naked instance of serious, violent crime,” said Hu.

China has repeatedly blamed the Dalai Lama for orchestrating the unrest, which it has said is a deliberate attempt to sabotage the Beijing Olympics in August.

China routinely uses the phrase the “Dalai Lama clique” but has refused to give a precise description of the size or make-up of the group.

Long-standing Chinese requirements for talks reiterated by Hu included a demand for the Dalai Lama to “genuinely” stop advocating Tibetan independence and stop activities aimed at dividing the nation.

In addition, the Dalai Lama must acknowledge that both Tibet and Taiwan are inseparable parts of China.

The Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959, has repeatedly insisted that he does not want independence for Tibet and denied that he has orchestrated the latest violence.

China has ruled Tibet since 1951, after sending in troops to “liberate” the Himalayan region a year earlier. — AFP

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