04/14/2008, 00.00
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The Dalai Lama “against human rights,” says Beijing

An unsigned editorial that appeared in Xinhua points the finger at the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, the “least popular person in China”. Nine monks were arrested in Lhasa yesterday as clashes with police continue. Torch reaches Oman as protests are temporarily suspended.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – The Dalai Lama and his supporters on Sunday are against “human rights”, and US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “the least popular person in China” for her stance on Tibet, this according to a unsigned, no holds barred editorial that appeared today in Xinhua, the official news agency of the Chinese government. The piece was published the day after nine Tibetan monks were arrested on charges of planting a bomb in a government building in Lhasa.

Xinhua slammed the Dalai Lama for wanting to restore the Tibetan feudal system that disappeared with the advent of Maoism.

“It is indeed the anti-human rights nature of the Dalai clique that impels the ‘pro-Tibet independence' separatists to undermine China's stability and unity, disgrace China worldwide, and even sabotage the Olympic torch relay by all sorts of violent means,” the English-language commentary said.

For his part the Buddhist religious leader renewed his threat of quitting his political role if violence did not end in Tibet.

“If violence becomes out of control then my only option is to resign,” the Nobel peace laureate said. "If the majority of people commit violence, then I resign.” Tibet, though, he said, has no concessions to give; all his region wants is autonomy.

Violence however does not seem to be at an end. According to an anonymous source in Lhasa clashes between Chinese soldiers and monks continued in the important Drepung Monastery. Independent verification was not however possible since neither the monastery nor the local police station could be reached.

By contrast, the situation surrounding the Olympic torch is less tense when it arrived this morning in Oman after a protest-free stage in Tanzania.

In Muscat the Games’ symbol was welcomed by a local football team set to carry it for about 20 kilometres.

The Middle Eastern country, run by the al-Busaid family, has good relations with Beijing, an important customer for local oil.

The local government has made sure that there would be no protests and has deployed hundreds of police agents to patrol the torch’s route.

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