July 2, 2008
Chinese officials deliver fresh attacks on the second day of Tibet-Beijing talks.
BEIJING (AP) — China's Communist Party boss in Tibet delivered a fresh attack on the Dalai Lama Wednesday [2 July 2008], even as envoys of the region's exiled leader met for a second day with Chinese officials for talks aimed at easing tensions following anti-government [protests].
The official Tibet Daily quoted hardliner Zhang Qingli as saying that supporters of the Dalai Lama were behind the violence that began in Tibet's capital Lhasa on March 14  and quickly spread throughout Tibetan areas of western China.
"The March 14 incident was a seriously violent criminal incident by the Dalai clique. The organized and orchestrated incident was created by Tibetan [activists] after long-term preparation, with the support and instigation of Western hostile forces," Zhang was quoted as saying.
He said the violence was timed for the run-up to next month's Summer Olympics in Beijing.
The remarks, which echo earlier Chinese accusations about the [protests], indicate no letup in Beijing's relentless campaign to vilify the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, despite talks this week that followed widespread calls for dialogue from overseas.
The Tibetan government-in-exile has said two days of talks would be held in China's capital, but Chinese officials would not confirm any details, including where the meetings would be held or what the agenda was.
China denies the India-based government's legitimacy and does not want such contacts portrayed as formal negotiations.
So far, neither side has commented on the talks. The Tibetan government-in-exile, based in Dharmsala, India, has said Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche was expected to comment only after the meetings end.
Calls to the Propaganda Office of the United Front Work Department, a body within the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee which is hosting the talks, were not answered Wednesday [2 July 2008].
The talks have particular importance in light of China's hopes of hosting a flawless Olympic Games. Some experts believe Beijing agreed to the talks to ease criticism ahead of the games, in a nod to international opinion that broadly regards the Dalai Lama as a figure of moral authority.
Some world leaders have said they might boycott the opening ceremony to protest the Chinese security crackdown in Tibetan areas of China after anti-government [protests]. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said this week he would attend if the latest talks made progress.
China has governed Tibet since communist troops marched into the Himalayan region in the 1950s. The Dalai Lama, who fled to India amid a failed uprising in 1959, has said he wants some form of autonomy that would allow Tibetans to freely practice their culture, language and religion.
The meetings this week follow informal talks held in early May in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen that ended with an offer from Beijing for future discussions.
China has been accused of using heavy-handed tactics in quelling the anti-government protests in Tibet. Beijing says 22 people died in the violence in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, while foreign Tibet supporters say many times that number were killed in the protests and a subsequent government crackdown.
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