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China Accuses Dalai Lama of Trying to Mar Olympic Games

By VOA News
23 March 2008

China has accused the Dalai Lama of attempting to mar the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing by stirring up protests in Tibet.

Chinese state media said Sunday the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader is attempting to take the Games hostage and force China to make concessions on Tibetan independence.

The Dalai Lama, an advocate of nonviolence, has steadily denied calling for protests and says he supports holding the Olympics in Beijing.

In his Easter Sunday message today, Pope Benedict in Rome called for peace in Tibet, following the unrest that started in Lhasa on the anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising in 1959.

Chinese authorities have posted a series of 21 "most wanted" photographs of people sought in the Lhasa rioting.

Saturday, demonstrators sympathetic to Tibet rallied in London, Tokyo and India.

In London, hundreds of protesters marched on the Chinese embassy while former Sports Minister Kate Hoey urged Prime Minister Gordon Brown to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics.

Hundreds more marched in Tokyo and in Dharmsala, India -- home to Tibet's government in exile.

In China, a group of nearly 30 dissidents called on Beijing to open direct talks with the Dalai Lama and to allow foreign media and United Nations investigators into Tibet.

The Chinese government puts the death toll from the riots at 19. Tibetan exile groups say at least 80 people were killed in Lhasa, and that clashes in China's Gansu province killed 19 more.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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