China vows to step up fight against Dalai Lama as shootings reported
China’s top official in charge of religious groups and ethnic minorities vowed on Tuesday to step up the fight against exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, as a rights group reported police shootings of monks marking his birthday.
The comments by Yu Zhengsheng, number four in the ruling Communist Party’s hierarchy, appear aimed at thwarting speculation that China’s new leadership could take a softer line on the Dalai Lama.
Beijing considers the Dalai Lama, who fled China in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule, a violent separatist. The Dalai Lama, who is based in India, says he is merely seeking greater autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.
Visiting a heavily Tibetan area of the western province of Gansu, Yu told local officials and religious leaders that the Dalai Lama’s separatist activities ran counter to the country’s interests and to Buddhist tradition.
“For the sake of national unity and the development of stability in Tibetan regions, we must take a clear-cut stand and deepen the struggle against the Dalai clique,” the official Xinhua news agency cited Yu as saying.