China urges U.S. to see “true nature” of Dalai Lama

BEIJING – China urged the United States to understand the true nature of the Dalai Lama clique, which it blames for stirring up last month’s violence in Tibet, and support China’s “just position,” state media said on Thursday.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi made the remarks on Wednesday at a meeting with visiting U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

“Yang explained the truth of the Lhasa riots, and expounded the stance of the Chinese government,” the China Daily said.

“He stressed that the measures taken by the Chinese government according to law had not only gained support from the Chinese people, but also won understanding and support from majority of the countries in the world.”

China blames the exiled Dalai Lama, whom it labels a separatist, for stirring up the Lhasa violence in which it says 19 people died. The Tibet government-in-exile says around 140 people died.

U.S. President George W. Bush awarded the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, one of the highest U.S. honors, the Congressional Gold Medal, in October and called on China to open talks with him.

Paulson raised Tibet with China, urging a resolution to the issue through dialogue.

Paulson met President Hu Jintao, Vice Premier Wang Qishan and Yang, among other officials. He is due to meet Premier Wen Jiabao on Thursday.

Chinese leaders accuse the Dalai Lama of orchestrating the wave of demonstrations from his home in exile in India, where he has lived since a failed 1959 uprising against Communist rule.

China says his intent is to disrupt the Beijing Olympics, which run from August 8-24, and to ultimately win independence for the remote, mountain region.

The Dalai Lama’s representatives deny the charges and the 72-year-old has repeated that he is seeking greater autonomy for Tibet, not independence.