Dalai Lama asks China to show proof he is behind violence
(dpa) - The Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Tuesday rejected charges by the Chinese leadership that he was behind the violence in Tibet and said he would withdraw as leader of Tibetans if they took to the path of violence.
Reacting to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's charges that the violence in Tibet had been "organized, premeditated and masterminded by the Dalai clique," the Dalai Lama said: "I ask the prime minister, please show me proof," his secretary Chhime R Choekyapa said over telephone.
Choekyapa said the Dalai Lama made the comments while interacting with a small group of media representatives at the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala, where the leader is based along with the Tibetan government-in exile.
The Dalai Lama demanded an impartial investigation by an independent body, which could include a Chinese representative and which would visit the places in Tibet where the violence has taken place to find out who was responsible, Choekyapa said.
"They are also welcome to visit the Tibetan Central Administration offices here," the Dalai Lama was quoted as saying.
"He also said the Chinese Embassy in Delhi was welcome to send someone to investigate whether we have links with the violence," Choekyapa said.
"The Chinese always blame the violence on us ... If Tibetans were rioting the media would have been invited," the Dalai Lama said in an excerpt from the media interaction aired by Times Now television channel. He said often it was the "Chinese agents" who incited violence.
"Up to now, I remained silent because it is a people's movement ... Now whether they listen or not it is my moral responsibility to speak to them."
"If the Tibetans ever take up arms, if they launch a violent movement and do not heed his advice, the Dalai Lama said he would withdraw as their leader," Choekyapa said.
The Dalai Lama earlier headed the Tibetan government-in-exile, but now it has a democratically elected leader.
"But for historical reasons, all Tibetans in exile look to him for leadership," Choekyapa added.
The Dalai Lama said he was totally committed to non-violence and so was the government-in-exile.
Meanwhile, Tibetan refugees in India continued their protests against "Chinese repression" with demonstrations in the Indian capital New Delhi and in Dharamsala.
"There were more than 200 Tibetan youth marching up and down the streets of the town shouting anti-China slogans and burning Chinese flags," a tourist in Dharamsala said over telephone.
He said a group of 150 monks also gathered to sing hymns on non-violence.