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Dalai Lama hits back at China conspiracy claims

April 8, 2008

BEIJING, April 6 (Reuters) - The Dalai Lama on Sunday hit back at
accusations from China that the exiled Tibetan government instigated
deadly riots in Lhasa and Tibetan regions, and challenged the Chinese
government to produce evidence.

China has waged a bitter propaganda war against the Tibetan spiritual
leader, who it blames for organising violent anti-China protests that
exploded in Lhasa on March 14, before spreading to Tibetan areas of
neighbouring provinces.

China last week said police had seized guns and explosives from Tibetan
Buddhist monasteries and found evidence the Dalai Lama had supported an
insurrection campaign by exiled Tibetan independence groups which
included planned suicide attacks.

"The Chinese authorities have been making false allegations against
myself and the Central Tibetan Administration for instigating and
orchestrating the recent events in Tibet. These allegations are totally
untrue," the Dalai Lama said in a statement posted on the Tibetan
government-in-exile's Web site.

"If the People's Republic of China has any basis and proof of evidence
to back their allegations, they need to disclose these to the world.
Just making allegations is not enough," the statement said.

The Dalai Lama's comments followed reports of further unrest in a
Tibetan area of southwest China, and as thousands of anti-China
protesters draped in Tibetan flags disrupted the London leg of the
Olympic torch relay on Sunday.

Tibetan advocacy group, the International Campaign for Tibet on
Saturday, said eight people were killed at the Tongkor monastery in
southwest Sichuan province's Ganzi (Garze) Prefecture, after police
opened fire on a crowd of monks and residents.

China's official Xinhua news agency said an official had been wounded in
the riot and that police had fired warning shots, but reported no deaths.
China says 19 people died in the Lhasa violence but representatives of
the Dalai Lama say more than 140 people have died in the unrest across
Tibetan regions.

The violence in Tibet has proved a public relations disaster for China
ahead of the Beijing Olympics in August, and has undermined its
carefully constructed image of a unified and harmonious country.

Tibet's Communist Party chief vowed a trouble-free Olympic torch relay
through the restive region, in comments published by official media on

But protests in other countries' legs of the torch relay have
embarrassed China.

Some 2,000 British police officers guarding the 80 athletes and
celebrities participating in the torch relay in London on Sunday were
unable to stop repeated disruptions by anti-China protesters. (Reporting
by Ian Ransom; Editing by Mary Gabriel)
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