July 26, 2006

China Accuses Dalai Lama of CIA Links

By Benjamin Kang Lim

BEIJING -- An official Chinese commentary accused the Dalai Lama on Wednesday of collaborating with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, rejecting the Tibetan leader's overtures and casting a shadow over fence-mending talks.

The Dalai Lama, who fled his homeland in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, has proposed a "Middle Way" policy seeking autonomy but not independence for Tibet.

But the online edition of the China Daily, the government's English-language mouthpiece, rejected the Dalai Lama's overtures in an unsigned commentary.

"In the name of 'organizing armed troops to fight their way back into Tibet', he collaborated with the Indian military and American CIA to organize the 'Indian Tibetan special border troops'," the commentary said without elaborating.

The CIA trained up to 400 Tibetan exiles at military bases in Colorado, Okinawa and Guam after the Dalai Lama fled into exile as part of a U.S.-funded guerrilla war against China, which occupied Tibet in 1950, the Chicago Tribune reported in 1997.

The guerrillas were parachuted back into Tibet where they waged an unsuccessful campaign against the Communists. American involvement ended in 1968 before detente between the two giants.

The Tibetan government in exile, which is headquartered in northern India, had no immediate comment.

The commentary accused the Dalai Lama, a Nobel peace laureate, of building up a rebel army in Nepal, and setting up offices and organizations abroad that have fanned separatism.

"What he pursues is a swindle and nothing stands between his 'high-level autonomy' and 'Tibetan independence'," it said.

The diatribe complicates talks between Beijing and the Dalai Lama's envoys which resumed in 2002.

Shedding light on the secretive talks, a Chinese government official said in May the Dalai Lama's envoys raised the issue of Greater Tibet which China cannot accept.

Parts of the western Chinese provinces of Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan are home to large ethnic Tibetan populations and claimed by Tibetan exiles as part of Greater Tibet. But Beijing rejects the claim.

"It is easy for one to see the Dalai Lama's ulterior motive: eventually seeking Tibetan independence," the commentary said.

"If the Dalai Lama is sincere in improving ties with the central government, he needs, first and foremost, to have an objective understanding of the political reality in Tibet."