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China asks India to block Dalai Lama's meet

China has asked India to honour its promise of not allowing separatists activities aimed at splitting Chinese territory and block the proposed Dharamshala meet by the Dalai Lama to discuss Tibet issue.

world Updated: Nov 13, 2008 19:57 IST

As the Dalai Lama prepared to hold the biggest conclave of exiled Tibetans in nearly six decades in Dharamshala, China on Thursday asked India to honour its promise of not allowing any separatist activities from its soil against the Communist state.

Dismissing as meaningless the November 17-22 meeting of exiled Tibetans at the seat of the Dalai Lama's Tibetan government-in-exile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Beijing expects India to honour its promise not to permit activities "aimed at splitting Chinese territory."

"The Indian government has made solemn commitments on several occasions that (it) does not allow any activities on its soil aimed at dividing (China)," Qin said.

"We hope that this commitment can be fulfilled," he said while responding to a question on the upcoming meeting at a biweekly press briefing.

In the wake of repeated failures to find a solution to the vexed Tibet issue during talks with China, the 73-year-old Dalai Lama has convened a six-day meeting to determine the future direction of his quest for "genuine autonomy" for his Himalayan homeland under Chinese sovereignty.

But Qin claimed the upcoming meeting was aimed at achieving Tibet's independence from Chinese rule. "The Chinese government is solemnly against any international activities aimed at splitting China, he said.

"Any attempt to plan or be involved in this meeting cannot represent the vast majority of the Tibetan people and their attempt will get nowhere," he said.

The meeting called by the Dalai Lama is expected to decide on the future of Tibet and floundering negotiations with Beijing.

Great importance is being attached to the meeting as this is only the third occasion after 1951 and 1959 that such a conclave of Tibetans will be held.

The meeting of over 500 prominent exiled Tibetans will take place in the backdrop of Beijing emphatically rejecting every demand made by the Dalai Lama.

"We will never make a concession," a senior Chinese official had asserted on Monday while blaming the Dalai Lama for the failure of the eighth round of talks between the two sides on the Tibet issue here.

"Our contacts and talks failed to make progress and they should assume full responsibility for it," Zhu Weiqun, a vice minister of the United Front Work Department of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), said.

The Dalai Lama had suggested recently that his "middle way" for Tibet, which was short of formal independence, was failing.

The futile talks between the two sides since 2002 have reportedly angered the Tibetan exiles who are seeking independence for Tibet contrary to the Dalai Lama's idea of "genuine autonomy" under Chinese sovereignty.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet following a failed 1959 uprising against the Chinese rule in his Himalayan homeland.

Fresh violence erupted in the Tibetan capital Lhasa on March 14 this year against the Chinese rule and spread to other areas of western China.

China had accused the Dalai Lama of instigating anti- Beijing riots in Tibet and other areas, a charge he has rejected.

First Published: Nov 13, 2008 19:36 IST