China slams Dalai Lama's autonomy demands
China on Saturday accused the Dalai Lama of making unrealistic demands that go beyond his public commitment to greater autonomy for Tibet, rather than independence, in the latest reflection of the gulf between the two sides.
"The Dalai side still insists on establishing a so-called greater Tibet on a quarter of Chinese territory," Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told reporters in Beijing.
"They want to drive away Chinese troops from Chinese territory," Yang charged.
Yang was referring to demands made at talks last year with envoys of the Dalai Lama who sought Tibetan areas of four provinces surrounding China's Tibet Autonomous Region to be included in any autonomy agreement, reported dpa.
Only about 2 million of China's 6 million Tibetans live in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Yang also warned foreign governments not to allow visits by the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.
"In developing relations with China, other countries should not allow the Dalai Lama to visit their countries and should not allow their territories to be used for the Dalai Lama to engage in separatist activities for Tibet's independence," he said.
Yang's remarks come just days before the first of several sensitive anniversaries this month.
The London-based Free Tibet Campaign on Friday accused China of placing Tibet under "de-facto martial law" ahead of the 50th anniversary of its failed uprising against Chinese rule, which began on March 10, 1959..
The troop presence was to prevent protests like those that swept across Lhasa and other Tibetan regions of China last year, the group said.
State media on Friday ran a series of articles promising stability in Tibetan areas, quoting Kang Jinzhong, the political commissar of paramilitary forces in the Tibet Autonomous Region as saying the region was "stable."
"But we'll pay attention to nip the problem in the bud," the official China Daily quoted Kang as saying in apparent reference to possible protests.
Last year's unrest was the worst in almost two decades. Rallies then on the March 10 anniversary escalated in Lhasa on March 14 into anti-Chinese violence and spread to other Tibetan-settled areas.
After the most recent of seven rounds of talks with the Dalai Lama's envoys in Beijing in November, China said "serious differences" remained.