Friday, September 08, 2006

Premier Wen Jiabao to attend the China-EU Summit, Asia-Europe Summit Meeting(ASEM), the SCO Prime Ministers Meeting and to visit Finland, Britain, Germany and Tajikistan

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang announces:

At the invitation of Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Tajikistan Prime Minister Akil AkilovChinese Premier Wen Jiabao will visit Finland, the United Kingdom, Germany and Tajikistan from September 9 to 16.

Premier Wen will also attend the Ninth China-EU Summit and the Sixth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) to be held in Helsinki, capital of Finland, and the Fifth Meeting of Prime Ministers of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to be held in Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

China Detains Tibetan Abbot in Sichuan

DHARAMSALA—Authorities in the Tibetan region of Karze in southwestern China's Sichuan province have detained the abbot of a major monastery, possibly in connection with the appearance of posters supporting Tibetan independence one year ago, sources in the area said.

"Chinese security officials arrested Khenpo Jinpa of Choktsang Taklung Monastery based in Choktsang village, Serda county, Karze prefecture, on Aug. 23," a caller from the region told RFA's reporter in Dharamsala. Karze is known in Chinese as Ganzi.

"His room was raided and searched without any kind of advance notice," the caller added.

Around 1 p.m. on Aug. 23, a team of armed police arrived in two vehicles from the nearby regional town of Dartsedo (Kanding, in Chinese), the caller said.

Monastery surrounded

"[They] surrounded the monastery and did not allow anybody to leave or enter the area. Some members of team went inside the monastery and arrested Khenpo Jinpa," said the listener, who was calling from Serda (in Chinese, Seda) county.

"The security officials searched his room too but found no incriminating materials of any kind. They never explained reasons for his arrest," the source said.

His room was raided and searched without any kind of advance notice,

Caller to RFA's Tibetan service

An officer who answered the phone at the public security bureau in Dartsedo didn't deny the arrest had occurred and suggested speaking to his superior. Calls to his superior during office hours went unanswered.

An independent source in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala, home of the exiled Tibetan government and spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, confirmed the arrest of the abbot.

The source, from Serda county, said local officials had been overruled in the arrest by a special team dispatched from Dartsedo.

The caller said local Tibetan monks suspected the arrest could be related to pro-independence posters displayed a year ago at the monastery, although no arrests were made at the time.

Taklung Monastery is one of the oldest in the Serda area, and is currently home to around 300 monks.

Abbot Khenpo Jinpa, 37, was taught by Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok, who died after authorities demolished parts of his Larungar Buddhist Center in April 2001.

Karze, a traditionally Tibetan area administered by China's Sichuan province, also saw the arrest last month of a 16-year-old Tibetan girl named Yiwang for handing out pro-independence leaflets.

The Dalai Lama fled Lhasa in 1959 after an unsuccessful revolt against Chinese rule. He leads the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India, but Beijing has ruled him out of Tibet's future.

Images, writings, and video of the Dalai Lama, who is universally revered by Tibetans, are banned in Tibet, and those found in possession of them typically receive prison sentences.

Original reporting by RFA's Tibetan service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. RFA Tibetan service director: Jigme Ngapo. Written in English by Luisetta Mudie and edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Media will be free to roam during Olympics, pledges Beijing

Jonathan Watts in Beijing
Wednesday September 6, 2006


Beijing's Olympics organisers have promised that the international media will be allowed to travel freely around China by the time the Games start in 2008, Britain's minister for culture, media and sport Tessa Jowell said yesterday.

The assurance - given by the head of the organising committee, Liu Qi - would require a loosening of some of the tightest restrictions on foreign journalists in the world. Correspondents are frequently detained by police and sent back to Beijing when they try to cover sensitive stories in the provinces.

Britain, Germany and other European countries have urged China to drop these controls and to grant the same freedoms permitted to Chinese reporters in London, Berlin and other western capitals.

Mrs Jowell, who is visiting Beijing as UK Olympic minister, said she received a positive response when she raised the issue with her counterpart, Mr Liu. "He gave me a clear assurance that he would support unimpeded movement of accredited and non-accredited journalists to report not just on the Games but on China," she said.

It was unclear whether the relaxation would apply only for the duration of the Olympics, when more than 20,000 journalists are expected to arrive in Beijing, or be a permanent change.

Ms Jowell said she hoped greater media freedom would be one of the lasting legacies of the Olympics. "I believe that once we establish freedom in this way, even after the delegates and the athletes have gone home, China won't reverse it and the Games will have a lasting legacy of opening China to the world," she said.

The Foreign Correspondents Club of China, of which the Guardian is a member, has lobbied for reform against a backdrop of several dozen detentions in the past two years.,,1865766,00.html

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

British minister to raise press freedom with Beijing

By Nick Mulvenney
Monday, September 4, 2006; 8:13 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) - Britain's Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell said on Monday she would raise the issue of press freedom in a meeting with Beijing Olympic organizers (BOCOG) this week.

Jowell, who is responsible for her government's media and sports portfolios as well as the 2012 London Olympics, said reports of harassment of journalists in China were "matters of concern."

"I will be talking about press freedom with organizers tomorrow," she told reporters at the site of the main stadium of the 2008 Olympics.

"I think what is to be welcomed is that I understand BOCOG have made it clear that access will be granted to accredited and non-accredited journalists.

"This is an important step in the commitment the organizing committee gave the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that hosting the Games would turn China to face the rest of the world.

"These kinds of basic freedoms are freedoms the rest of the world in some cases take for granted and in others aspires to."

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Paris-based Reporters Without Borders and the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China have all complained this year about China's treatment of the media.

Around 20,000 media accredited by the IOC to cover the Games will descend on Beijing for the 2008 Olympics with thousands more coming to report from China without access to the venues.

BOCOG have repeatedly said that all media would be able to operate in the same way they had at previous Games and where Chinese norms differed from international norms, international norms would prevail.


BOCOG chief Liu Qi said last month that China would issue and implement regulations for foreign media reporting on the 2008 Olympics next year.

Jowell said the main reason for her trip was to forge a close link between the Games organizing committees of the two cities.

"I am here in order to find out what we can learn," she said.

"We want to look at what we can offer from previous experience and to make sure the great strengths and obvious expertise which has been applied by the Beijing Games is transferred to the London Games."

Jowell said two things that had already struck here were that Beijing was so clearly on track to have the venues constructed well in time for the Games and the way the Olympic legacy was being spread all over the country.

A visit to an Olympic education model primary school in the Haidian district of Beijing had also provided inspiration.

"They're obviously just so proud of the huge honor that has been bestowed on their city," she said.

"This isn't a specialist sports college, this is a fairly ordinary school which has embraced the Olympic ideals of friendship and cooperation.

"That is one of the lessons I'll take home with me...I think this is a way of further building a legacy in children who are not that interested in sport."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Time running out for Tibet: French senators

Wed Aug 30, 1:52 AM ET Reuters

Time is running out to reach an agreement on Tibet's future which, if not sorted out by 2008, could become a blemish on the Beijing Olympics, a French parliamentary delegation said on Wednesday.

After meetings with Communist officials in Tibet, the group said they had the impression the authorities took a more "nuanced" tone toward the region's problems than the propaganda would suggest, but questions on Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, were rebuffed.

"There is one chance for Tibet and that's before the Olympics," Louis de Broissia, president of the French Senate's Information Commission on Tibet, told a Beijing news conference

after returning from the remote far-western Himalayan region.

"With so much international attention, the Tibet question could become a stain on the Olympics. After that, it's all over," he said.

De Broissia said it was possible a new generation of Tibetan leaders could espouse more violent forms of protest once the Dalai Lama dies.

The Dalai Lama, accused by Beijing of being a separatist, has lived in exile in the Indian hill station of Dharamsala since fleeing Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese Communist rule.

"The youth in exile are very impatient," he said. "It's in the interests of China to work fast and concretely."

The group was allowed only very limited contacts with people in Tibet other than officials, de Broissia said.

When they asked about the Dalai Lama, officials responded with questions about unrest among young Muslims in France, or the problem of Corsican separatists, he added.

"They told us the Dalai Lama was forgotten, discredited," the senator said. "We couldn't get anyone to really talk about the Dalai Lama. They would hide behind a disarming smile."

De Broissia said that despite their concerns about the destruction of traditional Tibetan buildings, the French delegation found it a positive sign that they had been invited at all and that the reaction to their visit surprised them.

The Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace laureate, is usually demonized in China's tightly controlled state-run press, although the government has maintained contacts with his envoys.

In July, an official Chinese newspaper commentary accused the Dalai Lama -- who has proposed a "Middle Way" policy, seeking autonomy but not independence for Tibet -- of collaborating with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Overseas rights activists have urged the International Olympic Committee to warn China that its right to host the 2008 Games could be revoked if it does not improve its human rights record.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

UK Parliamentary Committee Says China's Assertion on Dalai Lama Flies in the Face of His Public Statements
International Campaign for Tibet
August 16th, 2006
Logo of the United Kingdom Parliament

The Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom has said that "the Chinese assertion that the Dalai Lama advocates Tibetan independence flies in the face of public statements made by the Dalai Lama." It has recommended that the British Government continue to press the Chinese Government on the issue of the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet.

This conclusion and recommendation are contained in the seventh report of the Committee that was made public in July 2006. The report was compiled after committee members visited Tibet and China, met Chinese and British government officials and heard from expert witnesses as well as from the Office of Tibet in London.

Committee members Sir John Stanley, Mr Fabian Hamilton, Andrew Mackinlay, Ms Gisela Stuart, and Mr. Richard Younger-Ross visited Lhasa and Tsethang from May 13 to 15, 2006 and met the Abbot and Management Committee of Sera Monastery, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Tibet Autonomous Region, Vice Chairman of the Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Deputy Mayor of Lhasa Municipal Government, Officials from the Development and Reform Commission, Public Security Bureau and Environmental Protection Bureau, Tibet Autonomous Region, Tsering, Deputy Director-General of the Working Committee of the People's Congress of Lhoka Prefecture, and the Abbot and Management Committee of Samye Monastery.

The Committee has said "freedom of religious belief and worship in Tibet remains significantly restricted." Further, it said that China's appointment of a Panchen Lama "is a serious abuse of the right of freedom of religion" and has recommended that the British Government press China to respect the right of the Tibetan religious leaders in choosing the next incarnation.

In response to a question by a Committee member on the British Government's views on Tibet, Rt Hon Margaret Beckett, a Member of the House, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, said, "We are also seeking to use what I think is a degree of goodwill and mutual confidence that we are gradually building up with the Chinese Government to encourage political dialogue and try to encourage from all quarters an approach of trying to identify a greater degree of common ground so that there can be a more peaceful approach and peaceful settlement in the area of Tibet."

The Foreign Affairs Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the administration, expenditure and policy of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and its associated agencies.
Following are the full text of the Tibet section of the conclusions and recommendations, the Tibet section of the report, and proceedings of the examination of British Foreign Office officials on Tibet. The full report is available at
Conclusions And Recommendations

42. We conclude that the Chinese assertion that the Dalai Lama advocates Tibetan independence flies in the face of public statements made by the Dalai Lama. We recommend that the Government continue to press the Chinese to allow the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet in his capacity as spiritual leader. (Paragraph 369)

43. We conclude that Beijing's insistence on controlling the appointment of the next Panchen Lama is a serious abuse of the right of freedom of religion. We recommend that the Government press for the recognition by the Chinese of the right of Tibetan religious leaders to choose the next Panchen Lama according to their religious beliefs and practices. (Paragraph 372)

44. We conclude that the economic development of Tibet is to be welcomed, if it brings improvements to the living standards of ordinary Tibetans, and if Tibetan people have ownership over the process. We recommend that the Government urge its Chinese counterparts to improve the degree of Tibetan involvement in development decisions and emphasise to the Chinese the beneficial effect of such involvement on social stability. (Paragraph 375)

45. We conclude that freedom of religious belief and worship in Tibet remains significantly restricted. We recommend that the Government continue to press this issue with its Chinese counterparts, emphasising the beneficial influence which religious freedom can have on social cohesion. (Paragraph 380)

46. We conclude that the Tibetan people have a right to conduct their economic and social lives in the Tibetan language; that Tibetan culture should be preserved; and that Tibetan secular and religious buildings of architectural, historic and religious significance should be protected. We recommend that the Government urge the government of the Peoples Republic of China to strengthen the use of Tibetan in the education system in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and other ethnic Tibetan areas. (Paragraph 386)

Tibetan Autonomous Region

362. During our visit to China, part of the Committee visited Lhasa and Tsedang in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, and held meetings with a range of officials from municipal and regional government as well as monks of Sera and Samye monasteries. We were dependent upon our hosts in Beijing for our programme, so were not able to contact dissenting groups on the ground. At least one representative of the NPC in Beijing was present at all of our meetings.
363. The relationship between mainland China and Tibet is a complex one. The main source of contention from which other problems stem is the Chinese insistence that Tibet has always been part of China. The Chinese Embassy told us that: "China's sovereignty to Tibet allows no doubt. The Chinese Central Government has been exercising sovereignty over Tibet since the 13th century [...] Tibet has never been an independent country, and there is no country in the world that recognizes Tibet as an independent country".[574]

364. The Chinese government characterises the arrival of People's Liberation Army troops in Lhasa in 1951 as a "peaceful liberation" of Tibetans from a "feudal serfdom system" in which: "The basic rights of subsistence of the majority of the serfs could not be guaranteed, let alone their political rights".[575] This analysis of history is not shared by others, and the Tibetan Government in Exile, headed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959, "has consistently held that Tibet has been under illegal Chinese occupation since China invaded the independent state in 1949-50".[576] The FCO memorandum stated that: "Successive British Governments have regarded Tibet as autonomous whilst recognising the special position of the Chinese authorities there [...] HMG does not recognise the so-called 'Tibetan Government in Exile'".[577]

365. In Tibet, traditional religious leaders such as the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama have, in the past, had a role in government. This has led to particular difficulties in encouraging dialogue between religious leaders and the Chinese authorities. Although four rounds of talks have taken place between the Chinese and the Tibetan Government in Exile, the Chinese Embassy described the current Dalai Lama as "not only a religious figure, but a political exile engaged in separatist activities".[578] The Chinese stated that "The door for negotiation is always open". However, the Chinese judgement is that:

although the Dalai Lama kept changing tactics, his position on Tibetan independence did not budge at all, neither did the nature of his separatist activities. The Dalai clique has never abandoned the separatist activities both at home and abroad, and they do not have any sincerity in engaging and negotiating with the Central Government.[579]
366. The Dalai Lama himself has, in fact, made public statements renouncing his former political role and accepting Chinese rule. In 2005, he said that:

My involvement in the affairs of Tibet is not for the purpose of claiming certain personal rights or political position for myself nor attempting to stake claims for the Tibetan administration in exile [...] when we return to Tibet with a certain degree of freedom I will not hold any office in the Tibetan government or any other political position and [...] the present Tibetan administration in exile will be dissolved.[580]

367. In 2006, the Dalai Lama said that: "I have only one demand: self-rule and genuine autonomy for all Tibetans, i.e., the Tibetan nationality in its entirety. This demand is in keeping with the provisions of the Chinese constitution, which means it can be met [...] I do not wish to seek Tibet's separation from China".[581]

368. The Office of Tibet in the UK told us in evidence that the talks with the Chinese Government have been unproductive because of the attitude of the Chinese, stating that: "There have been no positive changes inside Tibet since the opening of direct contact with the Chinese leadership and that there are no clear signs that Chinese leadership is genuinely interested in beginning an honest dialogue".[582] The FCO told us that: "We have pressed the Chinese repeatedly to continue these contacts [with the Dalai Lama's representatives] and enter a substantive dialogue without pre-conditions and have made clear our view that negotiations should work towards a long term peaceful solution acceptable to the Tibetan people".[583]

369. We conclude that the Chinese assertion that the Dalai Lama advocates Tibetan independence flies in the face of public statements made by the Dalai Lama. We recommend that the Government continue to press the Chinese to allow the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet in his capacity as spiritual leader.

370. The Panchen Lama is the second highest spiritual leader in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama. When the Fourteenth Dalai Lama left Tibet in 1959, the Panchen Lama remained in Tibet in uneasy compromise with the Chinese authorities, suffering ten years' imprisonment for loyalty to the Dalai Lama. After his death in 1989, a search was made, according to Tibetan belief, for his reincarnation. The Dalai Lama announced in 1995 that the reincarnation had been identified as Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, a six year-old boy living in Lhari district in Nagchu, Tibet.[584] However, the Chinese authorities rejected this decision and anointed a different successor, Gyaltsen Norbu, another Tibetan boy; Gedhun Choekyi Nyima has not been seen since. Norbu appeared in April 2005 at the World Buddhism Conference, held in Beijing, and was reported as giving a speech in which he exhorted Tibetans to "defend the nation".[585]

371. The FCO told us that: "We remain concerned about the status of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima" and that at the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue in February 2005, the EU pressed for an independent figure to have access to him.[586] When we visited Tibet, the government authorities assured us that the boy was in good health, and that we should not be concerned about his location.

372. We conclude that Beijing's insistence on controlling the appointment of the next Panchen Lama is a serious abuse of the right of freedom of religion. We recommend that the Government press for the recognition by the Chinese of the right of Tibetan religious leaders to choose the next Panchen Lama according to their religious beliefs and practices.
Examination of Witnesses (Questions 260-279)
Witnesses: Rt Hon Margaret Beckett, a Member of the House, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr Sebastian Wood CMG, Director for Asia Pacific, and Mr Denis Keefe, Head of Far Eastern Group, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, gave evidence
Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP, Mr Sebastian Wood and Mr Denis Keefe
13 June 2006

Chairman: We are going to move on to Tibet. Richard?

Q262 Richard Younger-Ross: It is said that the Chinese are subsuming the Tibetan culture and the Tibetan culture is becoming merely a tourist attraction rather than a way of life. Could you explain your concerns about the human rights abuses in Tibet and whether you believe that the Chinese are still intent on bringing more Han Chinese into the country so that the Tibet-ness of Tibet is eventually eliminated altogether?

Margaret Beckett: We do have concerns, as you would expect, about the position in Tibet and we raise those concerns regularly with the Chinese Government and will continue to look for opportunities to do so. As I said before, one of the things that we are trying to do in terms of positive engagement on the ground is encouraging some project work to directly improve the situation of some of the Tibetan people. We are also seeking to use what I think is a degree of goodwill and mutual confidence that we are gradually building up with the Chinese Government to encourage political dialogue and try to encourage from all quarters an approach of trying to identify a greater degree of common ground so that there can be a more peaceful approach and peaceful settlement in the area of Tibet. I appreciate that is perhaps quite a tall order but that is certainly our approach. I know there has been the involvement of the Han Chinese in Tibet but I am not sighted on what we think the pace of that is now or is likely to be. Is that one for you, Denis?

Mr Keefe: It is certainly something that is continuing and of course the Chinese Government's perspective on it is that they are promoting the economic development of Tibet by doing things like building a railway to Tibet and investing there. Equally it is true, quite clearly, that it does have social effects and I think it is important to go on expressing, as we do through the dialogue and through other contacts, our concerns about the things that are happening in Tibet that we do not like the look of. It is not a straightforward issue in the sense that it is entirely cultural or entirely social. It is very much bound up with the economics of Tibet.

Q263 Richard Younger-Ross: The economics is used as the reason for the improvements. The side effects of that I think are fairly clear and you have referred to them. One of the side effects which has not been referred to very much in the past is the environmental damage and the potential environmental threat that the development of Tibet may pose, which is a very fragile environment. From your previous post you will be well aware of a number of these issues. What concerns do you have or does your Department have on water extraction and economic development and do you believe that poses a real risk to the seven major river sources in South East Asia?

Margaret Beckett: There is obviously a considerable concern about environmental damage, not just in Tibet but across that whole part of the world. I think one thing that I perhaps ought to say, and the Committee perhaps picked up when you were involved in your discussions, is that in recent years in particular the Chinese government has shown a very welcome and indeed a more thorough recognition of some of these dangers and the importance of some of these issues than perhaps many others in the developing world. I take a small amount of credit for my previous Department because, for example, Defra has now embarked on the second phase of its work with the Chinese Department of Agriculture assessing, for example, the most likely impacts of climate change on Chinese agriculture. The reason that the Chinese Government has become engaged in this work is because of their own recognition of how substantial these issues are for the whole length and breadth of China, and that includes in Tibet. This may be an area where there are more fragile eco-systems but there is a great concern across China. One of the things that I think is a huge challenge and a recognised challenge for the Chinese Government is how to get sustainable development and not just development. Of course, the other great challenge and great difficulty for them, which everybody has to do everything they can to help support and work with the Government of China, is it is one thing to get that recognition, as I think increasingly they have at central level but, China being such a vast place, to follow it through locally is not always so easy. So I think there is a real recognition of those challenges and of those potential dangers. From my perspective, as someone who has been engaged on environmental issues for the last five years, China is ahead of the game when it comes to a lot of other states who could have similar problems but are not yet recognising them. I am very impressed by what I have seen of the Chinese Government's record and their aspirations in this respect.

Q264 Mr Keetch: There is a long way to go in Tibet.

Margaret Beckett: A very long way to go across China, a long way with pollution problems, a long way with biodiversity problems of course, but recognising the problem is the first and most important step. 60/86002.htm

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Beijing pledges 'a fight to the death' with Dalai Lama
From Jane Macartney, of The Times, in Beijing

China’s new top official in Tibet has embarked on a fierce campaign to crush loyalty to the exiled Dalai Lama and to extinguish religious beliefs among government officials.
Zhang Qingli, was appointed Communist Party secretary of the Tibetan Autonomous Region in May. An ally of Hu Jintao, China’s President, Mr Zhang, 55, has moved swiftly to tighten his grip over this deeply Buddhist region.

He was previously head of the paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps in that mainly Muslim western region, overseeing migration of ethnic Han Chinese as well as border security.

Mr Zhang’s drive to stamp out allegiance to the Dalai Lama, who fled to India during an anti-Chinese uprising in 1959, has adopted a tone rarely seen since the mid-1990s. At the time Beijing launched a barrage of angry rhetoric against the region’s god-king and banned his photograph after he enraged China by unilaterally announcing the discovery of the reincarnation of Tibet’s second holiest monk, the Panchen Lama.

In May Mr Zhang told senior party officials in the region that they were engaged in a "fight to the death" against the Dalai Lama. Since then he has implemented several new policies to try to erode the influence of the 71-year-old monk who China’s rulers believe is waging a covert campaign to win independence for his Himalayan homeland.

Ethnic Tibetan civil servants of all ranks, from the lowliest of government employees to senior officials, have been banned from attending any religious ceremony or from entering a temple or monastery. Previously only party members were required to be atheist, but many of them quietly retained their Buddhist beliefs.

Patriotic education campaigns in the monasteries that have been in the vanguard of anti-Chinese protests have been expanded.
Ethnic Tibetan officials in Lhasa as well as in surrounding rural counties have been required to write criticisms of the Dalai Lama. Senior civil servants must produce 10,000-word essays while those in junior posts need only write 5,000-character condemnations. Even retired officials are not exempt.

Non-governmental organisations in Tibet have not been spared as Mr Zhang tightens the party’s grip. Previously, these organisations — involved in aid, healthcare, education and building preservation — had been able to sign five-year contracts with the Government to work in the region. But this has been cut to two years and several have been refused a new contract and must leave.

Mr Zhang told a reporter last week: "The Dalai Lama used to be an acknowledged religious leader, which is an undoubted fact, but what he has done makes him unworthy of the title."
His tone echoed that of a recent full-page diatribe carried in both the Chinese and Tibetan editions of the Tibet Daily that accused the Dalai Lama of collaborating with the US Central Intelligence Agency. It said: "What he pursues is a swindle and nothing stands between his ‘high-level autonomy’ and ‘Tibetan independence’."

Mr Zhang said few people understood the true nature of the Dalai Lama. "I still can’t figure out how he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. What peace has he brought to the world?" The latest denunciations cast into doubt the future of secretive negotiations between envoys of the Dalai Lama and Beijing over his possible return to Tibet. The talks resumed in 2002 but have so far made scant progress.

Shedding light on the process, a Chinese official has said that the Dalai Lama’s envoys had raised the issue of a "Greater Tibet" but this is unacceptable to China. Parts of China’s western provinces of Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan are home to large ethnic Tibetan populations and many were carved out of Tibet in a government reconfiguration in the 1920s and 1930s.
The Tibet Daily commentator, identified by the Tibetan name Yedor, said: "It is easy for one to see the Dalai Lama’s ulterior motive: eventually seeking Tibetan independence."
The Dalai Lama has said he does not seek independence but autonomy under Chinese rule.,,25689-2312796,00.html