China rebukes Dalai Lama for seeking Tibetan independence

October 19, 2013 08:33

A senior Chinese official has denounced the Dalai Lama's long-standing pursuit of autonomy for Tibet, describing it as equivalent to advocating Tibetan independence, state media said on Saturday.

The comments by Zhu Weiqun, chairman of the ethnic and religious affairs committee of the top advisory body to parliament, signal that China would probably refuse to pursue a compromise with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

The Dalai Lama, who fled China in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule, is considered a violent separatist by Beijing. The India-based Dalai Lama says he is merely seeking greater autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.

"In the fundamental sense, 'high-level autonomy' means Tibet's independence," Zhu was quoted as saying in the China Daily newspaper. "It is separated into two steps. The first step is so-called autonomy. The second one is actual independence."

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