China Says Dalai Lama Is Taking Olympics Hostage

BEIJING -- China accused the Dalai Lama on Sunday of using unrest in Tibet to back demands for Tibetan independence ahead of the August Olympic Games in Beijing.

The verbal attack on the exiled Tibetan leader, accused on Saturday of colluding with Muslim Uighur separatists in China's western Xinjiang region, was part of an intense propaganda and security drive to stifle anti-Chinese unrest before the Games.

Unrest in Tibet began when Buddhist monks demonstrated in the capital, Lhasa, on March 10, the 49th anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule, and on subsequent days.

Five days later anti-Chinese rioting shook the city. Chinese authorities said one policeman and 18 civilians were killed.

Anti-government protests then flared in nearby provinces with large ethnic Tibetan populations, leading to violence in which several people were killed and many injured.

In Sichuan, Gansu and other troubled provinces troops continued conspicuously patrolling the streets of Tibetan towns, and kept schools and Buddhist monasteries under tight guard.

The official Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday that 94 people had been injured in Tibetan areas in Gansu, almost all of them police.

But the government is intensifying propaganda, telling its citizens and the rest of the world that the Dalai Lama, not failings in government policy, caused the trouble in Tibet and accusing him of wanting to ruin the Beijing Olympics.

"The so-called 'peaceful non-violence' of the Dalai clique is an outright lie from start to end," the paper said. "The Dalai Lama is scheming to take the Beijing Olympics hostage to force the Chinese government to make concessions to Tibet independence."