CHINA / National

'Dalai Lama short of religious leader'
Updated: 2006-08-09 06:30

The party chief of China's Tibet Autonomous Region on Tuesday accused the Dalai Lama of engaging in activities unrelated to religion, saying he is an unworthy religious leader.

China has lodged an official protest against a visit to Israel beginning by Tibet's exiled spiritual leader. [AFP]
"The Dalai Lama used to be an acknowledged religious leader, which is an undoubted fact, but what he has done makes him unworthy of the title," said Zhang Qingli in an interview with the German weekly Der Spiegel.

The Dalai Lama staged a failed armed rebellion against the Chinese government in the late 1950's and stirred social unrest in Lhasa in the late 1980's, said Zhang.

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

Earlier, the chairman of the Tibetan government Champa Phuntsok described the Dalai Lama as "a politician in Buddhist robes and Italian shoes", quoting media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.

Zhang said only a few people in the world know the real Dalai Lama, whose supporters are either devoted believers, hostile to China or people ignorant of the whole story.

"I still can't figure out how he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize," said Zhang, "What peace has he brought to the world?"

The party chief also labeled the Dalai Lama as a double dealer, saying his so-called "middle way" was in fact thinly disguised independence. In the Dalai Lama's "middle way" he seeks a "greater Tibet" which would enjoy more autonomy than Hong Kong and Macao, said Zhang.

So soon as the Dalai Lama abandons his separatist ideas, the door to talks is always open, said Zhang.


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