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'Use 'influence' to stop Tibet violence'

world Updated: Mar 31, 2008 20:51 IST
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China has asked the Dalai Lama to use his "influence" to stop violence in Tibet, in first such statement which said the door for dialogue with him was "always open" but stepped up its crackdown in riot-scarred Lhasa defying global pressure to exercise restraint.

The channels for dialogue between the Chinese government and Dalai Lama is always open, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said during a visit to Laos, as the Olympic flame arrived in Beijing on Monday under tight security arrangements to thwart Tibetan protests.

"As long as Dalai Lama abandons the claim for 'Tibet independence,' especially uses his influence to stop the violence in Tibet, and recognise both Tibet and Taiwan as inseparable parts of China, the Chinese government is to continue resuming dialogues with him," Wen was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Wen urged foreign governments and media to view this incident in an objective and impartial manner. Chinese police rounded up new suspects in connection with the most vicious pro-independence protests in two decades in Tibet, taking the number of those arrested to 414.

These "people were suspected of involvement in deadly unrest in and near the Tibetan capital Lhasa in mid-March," state media reported on Monday.

The Tibet Daily said that another 289 people had turned themselves in following the riots, which broke out in Lhasa on March 14 and spread to nearby Tibetan-inhabited provinces leaving at least 20 dead and over 700 injured.

China heaved a sigh of relief following a protest-free Olympic torch welcome here at the tightly-guarded Tiananmen Square, site of the 1989 bloody crackdown on pro-independence protests but Tibetans have threatened to disrupt the 130-day relay, the longest ever in games' history.

China has accused the Dalai Lama of "masterminding" the violent protests ahead of the Olympics, slated to begin on August 8, to focus world's attention on Tibet.

The state media continued with its anti-Dalai rants saying "the self-proclaimed spiritual leader has obviously forgotten his identity, abused his religion and played too much politics."

Xinhua accused the monk of building a "pro-independence infrastructure". If the Dalai Lama "really wishes to be a simple Buddhist monk it's high time for him to stop playing politics and cheating people, Westerners in particular, with his hypocritical 'autonomy' claims", it said.

World leaders, including US President George W Bush and those from the EU, have urged Beijing to talk to the Dalai Lama who is living in exile in India.

China today accused the EU of adopting "double standards" and asserted that no foreign country or agency should interfere in Tibet as it was an "internal" matter.

China hoped the EU and its member states would make a clear distinction between the right and the wrong and "explicitly condemn the violent crimes" and avoid adopting double standards, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said.

The EU Foreign Ministers meeting in Slovenia late last week had urged Beijing to hold a dialogue with the Dalai Lama and expressed concern over the violence in Tibet but had rejected calls for the Olympics boycott.

Jiang said the EU should not "rub salt into the wounds" of victims of the Lhasa riots and send a wrong signal to the international community and the "Dalai clique", supporters of the Tibetan leader in exile, and encourage the "Tibetan secessionists".

China was willing to talk to the Dalai Lama if he "truly" abandons "Tibet independence", recognises Tibet and Taiwan as inalienable parts of China and stops attempts to "sabotage" the Beijing Olympics, she said.