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10 Mar 2009 14:15
China on Tuesday described critical comments from Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, as “lies” and insisted the Himalayan region had enjoyed profound democratic reforms under Chinese rule.
“I will not respond to the Dalai Lama’s lies,” foreign ministry spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu told reporters.
However, he launched a broad defence of China’s 58-year rule of Tibet, after the Dalai Lama on Tuesday said Chinese authorities had brought “hell on earth” to Tibetans.
“The Dalai Lama clique is confusing right and wrong. They are spreading rumours.
The democratic reforms [under Chinese rule] are the widest and most profound reforms in Tibetan history,” Ma said.
In a speech on Tuesday on the 50th anniversary of the failed uprising that led to his exile, the Dalai Lama accused China of causing the deaths of “hundreds of thousands” in subsequent rounds of repression.
“These 50 years have brought untold suffering and destruction to the land and people of Tibet,” said the Dalai Lama, speaking outside the main Tibetan temple in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamshala.
“Having occupied Tibet, the Chinese communist government carried out a series of repressive and violent campaigns.
“Even today Tibetans in Tibet live in constant fear,” he went on.
“Their religion, culture, language, identity are near extinction.
According to Qiangba Puncog, China’s top Tibetan official in Tibet, the Dalai Lama “clique” has repeatedly smeared the Chinese government with lies over the past 50 years, Xinhua news agency reported.
“They always lie that more than one million Tibetans had been killed in the past 50 years, but the truth is that the population in Tibet increased from 1,2-million in 1959 to 2,87-million in 2008,” he was quoted as saying.
“The fabrication of the so-called ‘genocide’ in Tibet has become a stock-in-trade for them to cheat the world.”
Ministry spokesperson Ma said China’s takeover of the Himalayan region resulted in the liberation of the Tibetan people, who had been enslaved for centuries by Tibet’s feudal theocracy.
“In the past 50 years, Tibet has witnessed profound changes in the political, economic and cultural fields ... and the millions of serfs have become the new owners of Tibet,” he said.—AFP
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