Lawmakers lash out at Dalai Lama's speech

08:04, March 11, 2010      

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Chinese lawmakers lashed out at an annual speech delivered by the Dalai Lama Wednesday, saying no matter what new wording he used, his ultimate political attempt of sabotaging ethnic solidarity and splitting China has never changed.

"He simply wants to continue to delude the whole world by inviting us Tibetan officials to visit their communities (in India's Dharamsala)," Padma Choling, the newly-elected chairman of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Regional Government, told Xinhua while attending the ongoing annual session of the country's top legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC), in Beijing.

"There is no 'serious problem' in Tibet, as claimed by the Dalai Lama. Tibet has achieved remarkable progress in various fields over the past years," Padma Choling said.

"Currently, the most important task for us is to build and develop Tibet better, and do everything possible to improve the people's livelihoods," he said.

In addition, he noted that there does not exist a so-called "issue of Tibet" claimed by the Dalai Lama.

"Tibet is an inalienable part of Chinese territory, and there is absolutely no problem with that," he said.

Lawmakers were also angered by the Dalai Lama's claims that Chinese authorities were working to "deliberately annihilate Buddhism" by "putting the monks and nuns in prison-like conditions" and "depriving them the opportunity to study and practice in peace."

"Monks and nuns can be seen everywhere in Lhasa," said NPC deputy Dorje Tsedrup, mayor of the Tibet autonomous regional capital Lhasa.

"I do not know how the Dalai Lama drew such a 'prison-like' conclusion as he has never come back to Tibet since 1959. It is totally nonsense," he said.

Currently, Tibet has more than 1,700 religious venues and 46,000 monks and nuns, whose religious beliefs are well protected by law, Padma Choling said.

"Monks and nuns are also citizens of the country, and the government has built roads, provided electricity and water for monasteries," he said.

"We have also included the monks and nuns above 60 years old into the government's social security system," he said.

By referring to northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region as "East Turkestan" in his speech, the Dalai Lama also, for the first time, voiced explicit support for the terrorist group "East Turkestan" that seeks independence of Xinjiang.

To Padma Choling, such an expression completely exposed the Dalai Lama's real intention of undermining ethnic unity.

"'East Turkestan' is a force engaged in fomenting national separatism and violent, terrorist activities. What is the motive of the Dalai Lama for supporting such a group?" he said.

NPC deputy Jume Tahir, vice president of the Xinjiang Islamic Association, strongly condemned the Dalai Lama's comments on Xinjiang.

"The 'East Turkestan' he referred to does not stand for the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. His support for 'East Turkestan' group means nothing but to separate Xinjiang from the motherland," said Jume Tahir, also Imam of the Id Kah Mosque, the largest of its kind in China, in the border city of Kashgar.

He said "East Turkestan" has been recognized as a terrorist group by international communities, but the Dalai Lama still expressed support for it.

"His purpose is very clear: to destroy the stability in Tibet and Xinjiang and split China under the cover of resolving the so-called 'Tibet issue' and 'Xinjiang issue,'" he said.

"I, on behalf of the religious people in Xinjiang, express our opposition to him, the Dalai Lama," he said.

Jume Tahir, in his 70s, said he has lived in Xinjiang for so many years and witnessed earth-shaking changes in the region after the peaceful liberation in 1949.

"The people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are enjoying more and more rights and interests economically or politically," he said.

"The Dalai Lama has never come to Xinjiang, and he is not qualified for saying this or saying that on Xinjiang things," he added.

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