China presses demands on Dalai Lama ahead of Games
China's attitude to future talks with envoys of the Dalai Lama rests on how he answers demands not to disrupt the Beijing Olympics, an official said, highlighting intense anxieties about the Games.
After secretive talks with representatives of the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader, Beijing said last week that future talks depended on his preventing acts "sabotaging the Olympic Games."
China has accused the Dalai's followers of seeking to derail the Games by orchestrating unrest across Tibet in March and subsequent protests that upset the Olympic torch relay in several countries. The Dalai has repeatedly denied the accusations.
But in an apparent bid to amplify Beijing's claims, a Chinese Communist Party spokesman repeated the demands, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.
An unnamed spokesman for the Party's United Front Work Department, which oversaw the talks, said the Buddhist leader must vow "not to support activities to disturb the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games," not support "violent criminal activities," not support efforts for Tibetan independence, and curb the pro-independence Tibetan Youth Congress.
"If the Dalai Lama fails to meet such simple and rational demands, it will be impossible to have the necessary atmosphere and conditions for the next round of contacts," the spokesman said, according to Xinhua.
"The door for dialogue is always open and contacts will make positive steps as long as the Dalai Lama meets words with actions and truly follows the four 'not-supports'," the spokesman said, referring to the vows Beijing has demanded.
The Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, says he wants true autonomy for the mountain region, but not outright independence. Beijing says his conditions amount to a bid for independence.
The Chinese government has treated the Olympics as a historic affirmation of the country's progress and stability.
The Dalai has also said he supports the Olympics and appealed to Tibetans not to protest during the August 8-24 Games.
The Xinhua report did not explain why the spokesman repeated the demands now. But they come ahead of the Group of Eight summit in Japan this week, where world leaders, including U.S. President George W. Bush, may raise concerns about restive Tibet with Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Envoys of the Dalai Lama said on Saturday that the talks last week did not serve any serious purpose. The last round of such talks was in May, following the riots and protests across Tibet.
The envoys said the talks were marked by personal attacks on the Dalai and that it seemed China held them in a bid to ensure no disruptions to the Games, rather than address Tibet's future.
The Party spokesman said the talks were about the Dalai's "personal future" and not negotiations about Tibet.