China's Hu rejects talks, blames Dalai Lama for violence

Other News Materials 12 April 2008 11:06 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday rejected calls from Western leaders to hold talks with the Dalai Lama and accused the exiled Tibetan leader of "instigating violence" and "sabotaging the Beijing Olympics".

"The barrier to contacts and talks does not lie on our side, but on the side of the Dalai Lama," the official Xinhua news agency quoted Hu as telling Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in the southern island resort of Hainan.

Hu repeated China's long-held position that it would only talk to the Dalai Lama if he gave up his fight for independence for Tibet and renounced violence, two conditions that the Buddhist leader has publicly committed himself to many times.

"As long as the Dalai side stops activities splitting the motherland, stops activities scheming and instigating violence, and stops activities sabotaging the Beijing Olympic Games, we are ready to continue contacts and talks with him at any time," Hu said.

Rudd is among many Western leaders, including US President George W Bush, who have urged China to hold dialogue with the Dalai Lama following widespread protests and rioting last month in Tibetan areas of China.

Hu also appeared to reject any international mediation in Tibet on Saturday.

"The Tibet problem is entirely an internal issue of China," the agency quoted him as saying.

"Our conflict with the Dalai clique is not an ethnic problem, not a religious problem, nor a human rights problem," Hu said. "It is a problem either to safeguard national unification or to split the motherland."

Many analysts believe China will never agree to talk to the Dalai Lama, but some warn that unrest among the country's 6 million Tibetans could become much worse after the death of the 72-year-old Buddhist leader, who has appealed to protesters not to use violence.

Speaking in Beijing on Thursday, Rudd said Chinese leaders appeared unwilling to compromise on their conditions for talks with the Dalai Lama.

"I think we have a different view, that's quite plain," he told reporters following talks on Tibet with Premier Wen Jiabao.

"When it comes to the particular events of recent times, the position of the Australian government is that there are significant human rights problems in Tibet," Rudd said.

Rudd and Hu were in Hainan to attend the Bo'ao Asian economic forum, where Hu was scheduled to give the opening speech later on Saturday.