China declares ‘people’s war’ in Tibet

China declares ‘people’s war’ in Tibet
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First Published: Sun, Mar 16 2008. 12 56 PM IST
Updated: Sun, Mar 16 2008. 12 56 PM IST
Beijing: Tibet’s government has declared a “people’s war” to erase support for the Dalai Lama and end any independence aspirations of the people there, Chinese state media said Sunday.
The blitz will involve both security and propaganda campaigns to counter the message of the exiled Buddhist spiritual leader, the Tibetan Daily reported.
The call was made during an emergency meeting of Tibetan political and security chiefs on Saturday, the report said, following deadly protests a day earlier against China’s 58-year rule of Himalayan region.
“This grave outburst of fighting, destruction, and burning was planned by reactionary separatist forces both within and outside our borders to smash the social order with the ultimate goal of an independent Tibet,” a statement from the meeting said.
“We must wage a people’s war to beat splittism and expose and condemn the malicious acts of these hostile forces and expose the hideous face of the Dalai Lama group to the light of day.”
The Tibetan capital of Lhasa remained tense on Sunday as a heavy security presence was maintained across the city following the riots that China’s state-run press said left 10 people dead.
Tibet’s government-in-exile in India said Saturday about 30 people had been confirmed killed and it had received unconfirmed reports of as many as 100 fatalities.
The unrest first erupted early last week when Buddhist monks led demonstrations to mark the anniversary of a 1959 uprising against Chinese rule that forced the Dalai Lama into exile.
Eyewitness reports have said protesters were chanting support for independence and the Dalai Lama, who remains revered by the Tibetan Buddhist faithful.
Authorities plan to attack this support with a propaganda push, the Tibetan Daily said. “We must firmly guide public opinion in the correct direction... to let all ethnic minorities understand the truth as soon as possible,” it said.
The report did not specify where the meeting took place or who was present. However, top officials from Tibet and Lhasa city are currently in Beijing for the annual parliamentary session.
The Dalai Lama insists he does not want independence for his homeland, but greater cultural autonomy and an end to repression.
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First Published: Sun, Mar 16 2008. 12 56 PM IST
More Topics: China | Unrest | Tibet | Dalai Lama | Buddhist monks |