04/22/2009, 00.00
TIBET – CHINA
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China is acting ‘like a child’ that is scared, Dalai Lama says

China’s government is afraid of the least form of dissent and lacks moral authority, which is necessary to be a true superpower. A well-liked Buddhist monk goes on trial in Tibet. Exiled Tibetan groups slam harsh death sentences issued yesterday by a Chinese court against last year’s protesters.
Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – China is “such a big nation, acting like a child,” the Dalai Lama said. Its government routinely arrests individuals with different views, but “such a big nation of over one billion people [should have] no need for such sort of fear,” he added.

Addresskng a news conference in Tokyo, Tibet’s spiritual leader in exile slammed China, an economic and military giant but lacking in moral authority in his view.

“One or two persons have different views, and immediately they are in trouble with the government. No. You're a big nation. You should have more self-confidence,” he said during the press conference..

The Tibetan leader said China was on the path to becoming a superpower and already had the “power of population, power of military and power of economy.” But “now the fourth condition to becoming a superpower is moral authority,” he said. “That is lacking. Moral authority is very, very essential. Trust is key. State secrets destroy trust. That is the greatest obstacle to authority.” Indeed, “one weakness of the Chinese government is that it is not transparent, always telling distorted information.”

In the past few months tens of Tibetans have ended up in prison—some sentenced to life behind bars; others condemned to death—for protesting in March 2008against Chinese occupation.

Chinese authorities have blamed demonstrators for 21 deaths, mostly ethnic Han Chinese. But Tibet’s government-in-exile countered that 200 peaceful demonstrators were killed by the army and thousands more were arrested.

“All these sentences are politically motivated,” the Dalai Lama said. The trials against Tibetans are not fair because the “PRC [People's Republic of China] as a whole is without rule of law, no independent judiciary. Everything is controlled by the [Communist] party.”

Beijing has instead accused the Dalai Lama of being a separatists, of pushing the population towards secession.

For the Buddhist leader China’s own actions are pushing people towards separation because it unfairly treats Tibetans, and drives them to oppose and protest Chinese rule.

Tibetan groups in exile complained yesterday after three Tibetan demonstrators were sentenced to life in prison or the death penalty for setting fires that killed some Chinese in the March 2008 protests.

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) said that the trial was unfair and held in camera a year after the accused were jailed.

In Lhasa the trial against Lama Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche (pictured) from Ganzi, Sichuan, began yesterday. Well loved and respected by Tibetans, the Buddhist monk has been in prison since 18 May 2008 on charges of illegal possession of weapons and ammunition that were found in his house during a police raid.

The lama has rejected the accusations and his attorney, Li Fangping from Beijing, has complained that the police extorted a confession after four days of interrogation and threats to arrest his wife and child.

(Nirmala Carvalho contributed to this article.)

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