( AP ) - China's premier denounced the Dalai Lama's supporters as instigators of violent anti-Chinese riots in Tibet's capital, taking a hard stance Tuesday as a deadline for protesters to turn themselves in passed without any apparent surrenders.
Premier Wen Jiabao's remarks were the highest-level response to last week's rampage in Lhasa, which the government has said killed 16 people and injured dozens. The Dalai Lama's government-in-exile in India has said that 80 Tibetans were killed.
"There is ample fact - and we also have plenty of evidence - proving that this incident was organized, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai clique," Wen told reporters at a news conference held at the end of China's national legislative meeting. He did not give any details.
"This has all the more revealed that the consistent claims made by the Dalai clique that they pursue not independence but peaceful dialogue are nothing but lies," he said.
He also dismissed claims by the exiled Dalai Lama that there was "cultural genocide" taking place in his homeland. The revered spiritual leader fled in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.
The hardline stance taken by the normally mild-manner Wen underscored the communist leadership's determination to regain control over the region and ensure a smooth run up to this summer's Beijing Olympics.
The Tibetan protests began peacefully March 10 on the anniversary of the failed 1959 uprising. Tibet had been effectively independent for decades before Chinese communist troops entered in 1950.
They grew increasingly violent, culminating Friday with widespread street violence in Lhasa, and have spilled into neighboring provinces and even the capital, Beijing, where students staged a vigil Monday. Champa Phuntsok, Tibet's China-appointed governor, said Monday that the death toll from the unrest had risen to 16 and that dozens were injured. He denied a claim by the Dalai Lama's government-in-exile in India that 80 Tibetans died.
Wen said the protesters killed bystanders, smashed public utilities and cars and set fire to stores.
"They used extremely cruel means," Wen said. "This incident has seriously disrupted public order and life in Lhasa. This incident has inflicted heavy losses of lives and property of the people in Lhasa."
However, Wen said, Lhasa was returning to normal.
"The situation is quiet and calm, and Lhasa will be reopened to the rest of the world," he said.
China restricts access by foreign journalists to Tibet, and officials have kicked out the few in the region, making it difficult to verify information.
The upheaval is prompting scrutiny of the communist government's human rights record ahead of the Aug. 8-24 Beijing Summer Olympics, which China had hoped would boost its international image.
"This is a China engaged with the world which is using the Olympics to demonstrate a new openness, and it risks all of that collapsing in on it if it is seen as being the enforcer of a crackdown on Tibetans," Mark Malloch-Brown, the British Cabinet minister in charge of Asia relations, said Monday.
Wen said Tuesday that the protesters in Tibet are intent on undermining the Beijing Summer Olympics, but that the protests went against the wish of the Chinese people to stage a successful Olympics.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday that Beijing should find a way to work with the Dalai Lama, who she said is not a separatist and could "lend his moral weight" to bringing stability to Tibet.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday urged Chinese authorities to exercise "restraint" in Tibet - his strongest message on the violence to date.
"I'm increasingly concerned about the tensions and reports of violence and loss of life in Tibet and elsewhere," he told reporters outside the council's chambers.
Asked whether he sees a U.N. role toward Tibet, Ban answered: "We will continuously monitor the situation; we'll get back to you."
An official at the Administrative Department of the city's Communist Party office said Tuesday the city's markets, work places, schools were all back in operation.
"There are no police or troops around our area. But as to whether there are still police sealing off the downtown streets, I am not clear yet," he said. He refused to give his name.
A receptionist at the Tibet International Grand Hotel said there were fewer police on patrol. "So far there has been no police raid or visit to our hotel," she said.
Police in Lhasa declined to comment Tuesday.
In Gansu province's Maqu county, thousands of monks and ordinary Tibetans clashed with police Monday in various locations, police and a Tibet rights group said.
"We have nothing to protect ourselves and we can't fight back," said an officer at the county police headquarters who refused to give his name or other details. He said about 10 police were injured.
A witness in neighboring Sichuan province said troops moved into Ma'erkang county, next to an area where clashes between monks and police broke out Sunday with unconfirmed reports of as many as seven deaths.
At Central Nationalities University in Beijing, an elite school for ethnic minorities, about 200 students held a silent candlelight vigil, sitting down in an outdoor plaza Monday night.
Uniformed and plainclothes security kept watch but did not interfere. Foreign journalists were prevented from taking photos and ordered to leave.