Archive for Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dalai Lama urges nonviolent protests

March 19, 2008

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— Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao accused supporters of the Dalai Lama on Tuesday of organizing violent clashes in Tibet in hopes of sabotaging the Beijing Olympics and bolstering their campaign for independence in the Himalayan territory.

The Dalai Lama, however, urged his followers to remain peaceful, saying he would resign as head of the Tibetan government-in-exile if violence got out of control.

"I say to China and the Tibetans: Don't commit violence," he told reporters in Dharmsala, seat of his government-in-exile, urged nonviolence. He suggested the Chinese themselves may have had a hand in the upheaval to discredit him.

"It's possible some Chinese agents are involved there," he said. "Sometimes totalitarian regimes are very clever, so it is important to investigate."

If violence spirals out of control, he said his "only option is to completely resign" as head of the government-in-exile. A top aide said later the Dalai Lama would not give up his role as spiritual leader for Tibetan Buddhists.

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