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Chinese media blames the West over Tibetan unrest

February 1, 2012

China claims western governments are in league with the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile to “distort the truth” about the ongoing unrest in the restless Tibetan regions of western China.

In the last week, up to seven Tibetans have been shot dead and over 60 wounded in clashes with Chinese security forces in Tibetan counties in western Sichuan province, according to pro-Tibet groups in the west.

Protests by Tibetans in the region calling for religious freedom and the return of the exiled Dalai Lama have escalated over the last year. But on Monday, an editorial in the state-run China Daily newspaper accused western governments of taking advantage of the disturbances to attack Beijing.

The editorial said the west is colluding with the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India to “distort incidents”, as well as claiming that the Dalai Lama “is financed and supported by some western governments and media with their own agenda against China.” China insists that the armed police who opened fire on demonstrators last Monday and Tuesday in the town of Luhuo in the Ganzi Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province were defending themselves from “mobs” trying to storm a police station. Pro-Tibet groups say the protests were peaceful.

Last week, China’s foreign ministry also targeted the west for its support of Tibetan calls for an end to religious repression, which have prompted 16 monks and nuns to set fire to themselves in western Sichuan since last March. “Overseas forces promoting 'independence for Tibet’ have always fabricated rumours and distorted the truth to discredit the Chinese government with issues involving Tibet”, said Hong Lei, a spokesman for the ministry.

With the fourth anniversary of the March 2008 protests in the Tibetan capital Lhasa approaching, and Beijing desperate to ensure a trouble-free run-up to October’s handover of power to the next generation of leaders of the ruling communist party, many Tibetan towns in western Sichuan are now under virtual martial law and foreign media are barred from the entire region. China regards the Dalai Lama as a separatist seeking independence for Tibet and insists its reforms are benefiting the Tibetan people. The Dalai Lama says he wants only autonomy for Tibet and a peaceful solution to the dispute.

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