July 3, 2008

Beijing Scolds Dalai Lama As Envoys Talk

The top Communist Party official in Tibet cast the Dalai Lama as a troublemaker even as envoys of the exiled spiritual leader and the Chinese government met.

In a speech delivered in Lhasa, Zhang Oingli, Communist Party secretary of Tibet, said the deadly March riots in Lhasa were a seriously violent criminal incident ... created by Tibetan separatists after long-term preparation, with the support and instigation of Western hostile forces, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Oingli's remarks were delivered the day after representatives of the Dalai Lama arrived Monday in Beijing for what the self-proclaimed Tibet government-in-exile said would be two days of talks, the Journal said. China confirmed talks were scheduled but said nothing about their content or length.

China's government blamed the Dalai Lama for the March 14 riots and the unrest that later engulfed Tibetan areas of western China.

The International Olympic Committee reprimanded China for comments Zhang made when the Olympic torch passed through Lhasa in June en route to Beijing, site of the Summer Games. The IOC said the comments improperly politicized the Games.

Some world leaders have said they may boycott the Olympic opening ceremonies to protest China's crackdown on Tibetan demonstrators.