China’s Communist Party has launched a two-month political education campaign in Tibet’s restive capital Lhasa to attack pro-independence sentiment and support for the Dalai Lama.
China has blamed the unrest across Tibetan areas on a small “clique” of the Dalai Lama pressing for independence and seeking to upset Beijing’s preparations for the 2008 Olympics.
Over a month has passed since monk-led protests against government control gave way to deadly anti-Chinese rioting in Lhasa on March 14, but security forces have wrestled with continued unrest there and across other Tibetan areas, and blamed it on the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.
In a bid to reinforce control over Lhasa, party authorities have launched an education drive focused on officials and Party members, the official Tibet Daily reported on Monday.
The campaign to “fight separatism, protect stability and promote development” would focus on “unifying the thinking and cohesive strength of officials and the masses, deepening the struggle against separatism, and counter-attacking the separatist plots of the Dalai clique,” said the paper.
Party members and officials would be assessed on their “performance” in the two-month drive, which will include TV programmes and organised denunciation sessions.
The Dalai Lama has denounced violence and said he supports Beijing holding the Games in August, but also accused Beijing of perpetrating possible “cultural genocide” in Tibet. China has called him an irrelevant exile. But a huge paramilitary build-up across Tibetan areas, bans on much travel and tourism there, and now the “mass education” campaign suggest the government itself fears wider sources of discontent, including among officials and party members.