'Dalai clique' blamed for inciting attacks Beijing yesterday announced it had arrested 16 people, most of them Tibetan Buddhist monks, accused of three bombings in Tibet in April. The announcement was made at a sensitive time ahead of the seventh round of talks to be held between central government representatives and envoys of the Dalai Lama, and a day after a prayer ceremony by the Dalai Lama and his cabinet for Chinese earthquake victims. According to Xinhua, the three blasts were planned and carried out between April 3 and April 15 in Changdu prefecture, also known in Tibetan as Chamdo or Qamdo. The arrests came on May 12 and 13, but Xinhua did not explain why it took almost a month to publicise the news. The news agency also did not release photographs or other proof of the attacks. Xinhua also did not report if there were casualties, but blamed the 'Dalai clique' for inciting the monks to carry out bombings to 'echo' the March 14 riots in Lhasa and other Tibetan-populated areas. It said the suspects listened to overseas radio broadcasts and 'bought into the Dalai clique's propaganda and incitement of ethnic separatism'. In the first incident, five monks from Wese Monastery allegedly bombed the Mangkam county power transformer on April 5. They were arrested on May 13. On April 8, four monks from Kebalong Monastery fled after allegedly setting off a home-made bomb near the barracks of the paramilitary People's Armed Police, Xinhua said. They had allegedly planned bomb attacks at a petrol station and a police premises the previous day but had failed. One of the suspects, Tashi Tsering, was arrested on May 12, while three others were on the run. In the third case, two men allegedly instructed four monks from Kebalong Monastery to bomb a Tibetan home. The four monks were arrested on May 12. Xinhua did not give details about the other six in custody. In a separate commentary, Xinhua accused the 'Dalai clique' of being the 'chief culprit' behind the bombings. 'The suspects in the three cases are all monks from monasteries and they have been incited by the separatist thoughts of the Dalai clique for a prolonged period,' Xinhua said. 'The bombings aimed to echo the beating, smashing, and looting in Lhasa on March 14 and the Dalai clique is the chief culprit in the three bombings.' Eastern Tibet's Changdu prefecture has long been an anti-Han Chinese stronghold and many of the March 14 rioters came from there, according to Lhasa residents. Also yesterday, Xinhua published a commentary entitled 'Why does the Dalai Lama feel helpless'. The article challenged an earlier remark by the Dalai Lama that he was frustrated because his 'middle way policy' of not seeking independence had not been supported by all Tibetans and repeated rhetoric which accused the Dalai Lama of being a feudal lord. Yesterday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Beijing had yet to decide the date of talks with Dalai Lama envoys. But he reiterated that he must abandon attempts to sabotage the Beijing Olympics, seek independence and incite violence, claims that the Dalai Lama has rejected repeatedly. When asked why Tibet was still deemed unsafe for foreign reporters three months after the riots and whether China was able to ensure stability within its border, Mr Qin said: 'If you think China cannot maintain stability within its border, then you have underestimated China and its people.' He would not give a date about when Tibet would be safe enough for foreign journalists.