Before The Globe & Mail makes it disappear, from today’s news (I’ve added the links and italics myself):
OTTAWA — China’s ambassador has rejected Canadian criticisms of his country’s actions in Tibet as uninformed, and called assertions of rights violations “irresponsible.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government have reacted to China’s crackdown in Tibet by calling on the country to respect human rights and open dialogue with the Dalai Lama. However, Chinese Ambassador Lu Shumin warned yesterday against interference in his country’s internal affairs.
At a rare press conference in Ottawa, he said the Dalai Lama is a dishonest separatist who has been “lying for decades,” and is behind violent and criminal riots in China.
Mr. Harper, who last November angered China by meeting the Dalai Lama, last week issued a statement that the Buddhist leader’s “message is one of non-violence … and I join him in that call.”
Yesterday, Mr. Lu said statements like those of Mr. Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier, who called on China to respect human rights and peaceful protest, were ill-informed.
“If they want to come to a conclusion to express their concerns, they have to make clear, understand [clearly], what has happened [and] secondly, what is the nature of the event, before they can make a remark,” Mr. Lu said. “Otherwise, any remarks made accusing China of so-called human-rights suppression or things in that direction, I would consider that as irresponsible and inappropriate. And it’s interference in China’s internal affairs.”
Mr. Lu insisted that videos of riots in Lhasa show criminal violence, not peaceful protest. The Chinese reports emphasized the “restraint” of police.
The ambassador also said the footage shows that the Dalai Lama’s “clique” instigated the violence, although he did not specify where such evidence can be found, as he asserted, on the Internet. He said the Dalai Lama purports to be an angel but is a dishonest separatist.
“Dalai Lama has been telling lies to the world for centur- for decades. … It’s wrong,” Mr. Lu said.
The ambassador said the Dalai Lama has no concerns for human rights, arguing rights were not respected in Tibet before 1959. He quoted Ernst Schäfer, who led a quixotic 1938 Nazi mission to find a lost master race in Tibet, and approvingly compared Tibet and Nazi societies. [More here and here about Germans in Tibet.]
Dermod Travis, executive director of the Canada Tibet committee, said that if Mr. Lu’s claims of restraint by Chinese authorities were true, the region would have not been closed to foreign journalists until a chaperoned tour of hand-picked reporters was organized yesterday.
He said riots in Lhasa on March 14 occurred after a March 10 crackdown on peaceful protests of Tibetan monks.
Mr. Lu’s Ottawa press conference reflects Chinese concern that an international outcry over the situation in Tibet could cloud the glow they had hoped to create with this summer’s Beijing Olympics.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy hinted Tuesday that he might boycott the Games. Groups, including the Canada-Tibet Committee, have called on Mr. Harper to skip the Games.
Meanwhile, representatives from a coalition of Tibetan advocacy groups met with Canadian Olympic Committee CEO Chris Rudge yesterday to ask that the Olympic torch not pass through Tibet in June. Though sympathetic, Mr. Rudge appears to have been cool to suggestions his committee press Beijing organizers to change the route.
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