The Communist Party of China has accused its own party officials in the Tibet Autonomous Region of donating funds to the India-based Dalai Lama, described by Beijing as a separatist conspiring to carve out an independent Tibetan state.
The unnamed officials were accused of donating funds to the Tibetan spiritual leader, joining underground pro-independence organisations and leaking secrets to overseas groups.
Their activity “severely undermines the Party’s fight against separatism”, a Communist Party magazine quoted an official as having written.
The report did not say whether the Communist Party officials were of Tibetan ethnicity.
Such accusations are rare but not unprecedented. In January 2015, Chinese anti-corruption authorities had found 15 senior Communist Party officials in Tibet guilty of corruption and punished them.
On Tuesday, the magazine quoted a top anti-corruption official levelling similar charges.
“Some Party officials have neglected important political issues and the country's anti-separatist struggle,” Wang Yongjun, head of the discipline watchdog in the Tibet Autonomous Region was quoted as saying.
“Some have even donated to the 14th Dalai Lama clique, joined illegal underground organisations and provided intelligence to overseas organisations,” Wang wrote in an article published on Monday in the magazine run by the Communist Party’s Central Commission of Discipline Inspection.
Commenting that such “behaviour affected the CPC’s coherence and ability to fight separatism”, Wang wrote that a few officials were failing to “uphold their political integrity" and were “completely ignoring political discipline”.
China considers the Dalai Lama as a political exile in India who continues with “attempts to split Tibet from China under the guise of religion”.
A report by the China News Service two years ago had said “the separatism situation is still complex and grim, a small number of party officials are not firm in their political stances, and the work of maintaining stability must be continuously strengthened”.
It too did not share details about the suspects but only said they provided intelligence to Tibetan factions under the Dalai Lama and their activities endangered national security.
The Dalai Lama’s visit last month to Arunachal Pradesh, which is claimed by Beijing, angered the Chinese government, which said India was “playing” the Dalai Lama card against its interests.