Commentary calls Tibetan group 'terrorist'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 April, 2008, 12:00am


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The mainland's propaganda campaign against supporters of Tibetan independence shows no sign of letting up, with the government mouthpiece branding the Tibetan Youth Congress a terrorist group.

In a commentary yesterday, the People's Daily accused the Indian-based group behind protests along the Olympic torch route of being responsible for providing training on explosives techniques and staging guerilla warfare.

The article also accused the group of attacking Jin Jing , a wheelchair-bound torch-bearer who has become a national heroine for protecting the torch from protesters in Paris.

It quoted the group's president, Tsewang Rinzin, as saying in a recent interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that 'the use of suicide bombers could be a measure in the development of the Tibetan independence movement'.

'[The fact that it] never cares about human lives, be they innocent civilians or its own 'warriors', clearly shows the Tibetan Youth Congress' violent and terrorist inclination,' the commentary said.

Since the outbreak of riots in Lhasa on March 14 and later in other parts of China's Tibetan-populated areas, Beijing has been accusing the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and the so-called 'Dalai clique', of masterminding 'violent and separatist crimes'.

Founded in 1970 and boasting a global membership of 30,000, the Tibetan Youth Congress is regarded as a more radical group among Tibetan activists.

The Ministry of Public Security has branded the Tibetan Youth Congress as one of seven members of the 'Tibetan People's Uprising Movement', which it says is bent on disrupting social stability, sabotaging the Olympic Games, and ultimately splitting the region from China.

The article blamed western media and politicians for supporting the group's 'violent activities', thereby encouraging the congress' leaders to engage in further terrorist activities.

'Their [the congress'] deeds have not only not been condemned, but been disguised as protests fighting for human rights and peace,' it said.

'One wonders [whether] on the day that Tsewang Rinzin's idea of suicide bombers is realised, would some western media still think this is a protest for peace?'

Xinhua reported that in Lhasa, the Public Security Bureau announced yesterday that 365 people had turned themselves in for taking part in last month's riots.

Jiang Zaiping, a deputy director of the bureau, said most had been deceived, misled or forced to join the riots, but some were responsible for organising the violent crimes.

There were still 88 arrest orders outstanding for a total of 170 people wanted over the riots.