China says Dalais shunning political role is trick

Beijing: China on Thursday said the Dalai Lama was playing "tricks" to deceive the world after the Tibetan spiritual leader announced that he would be shunning his political role.

"He has often talked about retirement. We think these are his tricks to deceive the international community," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu told a media briefing here, two days after Beijing vilified the Tibetan leader calling him a "wolf in monk`s robes".

China`s reaction was sharp to the announcement made in Dharamsala in which the Dalai Lama said he would step down as political head of Tibetan government-in-exile but will remain as spiritual leader and continue to advocate "meaningful autonomy" for Tibet.

The 75-year-old Nobel Peace Laureate, who has been at the forefront of a six-decade-long struggle for freedom of Tibetans, apparently stunned Beijing by announcing that he would hand over his "formal authority" to a "freely-elected" leader.

"The Dalai is a political exile under a religious cloak, now engaged in activities aimed at splitting China. He is also mastermind and political colleague of Tibetan exiles (and their) activities," Jiang said.

Declining to answer a question whether the Tibetan leader`s decision to step down would affect the dialogue between the his associates and the Chinese government for a rapprochement, she termed the Tibetan government-in-exile as an "an illegal political organisation". "No country in the world recognises it," she said.

Goaded by US and other international community, China held several rounds of talks with the representatives of the Dalai Lama in the recent past to work out a rapprochement and possible return of the Tibetan spiritual leader. But the talks made no headway.

Significantly the Dalai Lama`s announcement this comes days ahead of the third anniversary of the March 14 riots in Tibetan provincial capital Lhasa in which 18 people were killed and over 400 injured.

Ahead of the anniversary, the Chinese government has already stepped up criticism against the Dalai Lama stating that even his death will not exert any impact on the overall situation of Tibet.

"Of course there will be a little repercussions due to religious factors, but we will take that into consideration and will surely guarantee the long-term political stability in Tibet," Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Standing Committee of Tibet Autonomous Regional People`s Congress told official media.

"I dare not say that Tibet will not see any incidents, big or small, forever, but I dare say that the current situation in Tibet is on the whole stable, and the Tibetan people wish for stability and object to trouble-making," he said.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) Chief of Tibet Zhang Qingli described the Dalai Lama as a "wolf in monk`s robes" and accused him of working to separate Tibet from China.

"I had described him in those words after the March 14 riot in Lhasa in 2008 because I think he himself is a living Buddha but had done things beneath his status," Zhang said.

"While Dalai is a secessionist chief who fools simple believers under the guise of religion," he said.

Padma Choling, chairman of the Tibet autonomous regional government questioned Dalai Lama`s right to appoint as successor. Dalai Lama can not decide whether the "institution of reincarnation", might be abolished after his death.

"What he said does not count," he said adding that the Tibetan Buddhism has a history of more than 1,000 years, and the reincarnation institutions of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama, (second important monk in Tibet) have been carried on for several hundred years.

"We must respect the historical institutions and religious rituals of Tibetan Buddhism. I am afraid it is not up to anyone to abolish the reincarnation institution or not," he said.