Tuesday, September 19, 2006

China's Propaganda Campaign Continues: "Dalai Lama an Unworthy Religious Leader"

Zhang is at it again: "A son would never describe his mother as ugly"

A "Der Spiegel" interview as reported by China Dalily via Xinhua News Agency

"The Dalai Lama has engaged in activities unrelated to religion and is an unworthy religious leader, a top official said.

The 14th Dalai Lama was no doubt once the spiritual leader in Tibet before he fled in 1959, but his recent behaviour makes him "unworthy" of the title of "religious leader," Zhang Qingli, top Party secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region, said in an interview with the German weekly Der Spiegel last month.

The Chinese-version of the interview was published in the latest issue of Globe Biweekly, part of Xinhua News Agency, on Saturday.

Zhang cited examples of his behaviour: the Dalai Lama staged a failed armed rebellion against the central government in the late 1950's and stirred social unrest in Lhasa in the late 1980's.

He recalled that the Dalai Lama was elected as a leader in China's National People's Congress after the peaceful liberation of Tibet in 1951, and was appointed as the director of the preparatory committee of the Tibetan Autonomous Region in 1956.

"Such appointments reflect that the central government fully supports the freedom of religious belief in Tibet," he said. "But the behaviour of the Dalai Lama shows that he does not love his motherland."

Zhang stressed that Tibet is the Dalai Lama's home province, but China is his motherland.

"How can it be that someone doesn't even love his motherland?" he asked, citing an old Chinese saying that 'No dog sees the poverty in his own hut, and a son would never describe his mother as ugly.'"

By the end of the first half of this year, the Dalai Lama had paid 312 "official visits" to other countries and regions, averaging six visits a year, and last year he made 12 overseas journeys, according to Zhang.

"The goal of his 'official visits' are to ally himself with 'anti-China' forces and publicize his separatist beliefs, which deviate from the practice of religion," he said.

Zhang said the central government would follow the traditional Tibetan practice of drawing lots from a gold urn when deciding the next Dalai Lama.

He stressed that Tibetans fully enjoy the freedom of religious belief, and local religious communities are autonomous in religious affairs. But religious activities in China should be conducted in accordance with the law, and no foreign intervention is allowed.

Zhang refuted the rumour that the Chinese Government had deployed nuclear weapons in Tibet. "I can assure you that no nuclear weapons or plants have been set up in the autonomous region," he said.

He also mentioned that the operation of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, widely considered as a miracle on the plateau, shows that the central government is making great efforts to improve Tibetans' living conditions.