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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

China says anti-Dalai Lama rant not politicising Games

June 27, 2008

June 26, 2008

BEIJING (Reuters) -- China on Thursday shrugged off a warning by the
International Olympic Committee not to mix politics with sport,
describing anti-Dalai Lama comments during the Tibet torch relay as
"striving to stabilise" the region.

Beijing blamed the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader and his followers
for deadly riots that broke out in Tibetan capital in Lhasa on March
14, and regularly accuses him of scheming to split the restive
Himalayan region from China.

The IOC on Wednesday said it had written to Beijing Olympic
organisers to ask them not to politicise the Games after Tibet's
Communist Party boss Zhang Qingli said China's "red flag with five
stars will forever flutter high above the (Tibetan sky)".

"We will certainly be able to totally smash the splittist schemes of
the Dalai Lama clique," Zhang added, during a ceremony marking the
end of the Olympic torch relay in Lhasa.

Lhasa's Communist Party boss, Qin Yizhi, also denounced the exiled
spiritual leader at the relay's opening ceremony.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said he was not
familiar with the specifics of the IOC's letter, but said the
officials' comments did not contradict China's opposition to
politicising the Olympics.

"China's firm stance is to oppose politicising the Olympic Games, and
especially using them to interfere in China's domestic affairs," Liu
told a regular news conference.

"For some officials to express their attitudes on some issues is not
to politicise the Olympics, but it is striving to further stabilise
the Tibet region and create a harmonious and stable environment for
the Olympic Games," Liu said.

The Lhasa riots and China's subsequent crackdown became a focus of
anti-Chinese protests on relay legs in London, Paris and San
Francisco, prompting ugly scenes which alarmed the IOC and fuelled
nationalist fury among many Chinese.

China has often denounced critics for politicising the Games and the
Olympic charter allows for no demonstration or political propaganda
at "Olympic sites or other areas".

Tibet has cast a long shadow over the torch relay, which China hoped
would project the image of a stable, modern and harmonious country
ahead of the Games.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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