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China's U.S. Envoy: Tibet Riots Meant to Sabotage

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China's U.S. Envoy: Tibet Riots Meant to Sabotage


China's U.S. Envoy: Tibet Riots Meant to Sabotage

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And now let's get another perspective on this from China's ambassador to the United States. His name is Zhou Wenzhong. Welcome to the program, sir.

Ambassador ZHOU WENZHONG (China's Ambassador to the U.S.): Hello. Hello, good morning.

INSKEEP: Yes, good morning. You were able, I believe, to hear Geoff Dyers report there after having a chance to look around the streets of Lhasa. He indicated, as a veteran reporter, that when you see days of peaceful protest as well as violent protest, that usually there's a deep seated political problem. Do you accept that some Tibetans have legitimate grievances against your government?

Ambassador WENZHONG: Let me the four main points. First of all, what happened in Lhasa was sort of a, you know, looting, killing, burning, and it's almost by no means a peaceful demonstration. So activities are violence.

INSKEEP: Well, what he indicated was four days of peaceful protest followed by violence.

Ambassador WENZHONG: (unintelligible) serious there, the violent crimes. So it is always very clear. And no responsible comments was hit by in a watch and were faced with this kind of violent crime, which greatly violated human right, seriously disrupted social order, and has seriously endangered the safety of public life and property. So I think it's not a religious issue. It's not an ethnical issue. It's a law and order issue.

INSKEEP: Granting that there was violence and that Geoff Dyer, the reporter on the scene, found evidence that there was essentially ethnic violence, do you accept that Tibetans have legitimate grievances against your national government?

Ambassador WENZHONG: And also, I think many Tibetans were hurt. I mean, innocent Tibetans were injured. So I think that is a very clear that, you know, the purpose is to disrupt the - set off the peaceful life, and that the purpose is to try to sabotage the upcoming Olympics in Beijing.

INSKEEP: And do you think that people are perusing that purpose because they have legitimate concerns about being ruled by Beijing?

Ambassador WENZHONG: I think, you know, many people will miss that, and that they were - got involved and they were mislead. And so I think, gradually, they would come around. They will realize it was wrong for them to get involved. And as far as the policy toward Dalai Lama, I think the policy is clear and consistent the Chinese government all along kept in touch with his (unintelligible) with great patience. And the Chinese government is ready to continue contact and consultation with him as long as he truly abandons the advocating Tibet independence and to stops the activities aimed at splitting the mother lands.

INSKEEP: When you said it stops activating Tibet's independence, the Dalai Lama has said he advocates not independence, but autonomy for Tibet within China. And when you say that you're willing to continue contact, is your government willing to talk with them, sir?

Ambassador WENZHONG: No, the kind of autonomy he has been advocating is not very much different from independence. He is advocating for the establishment of a greater Tibet, and so on and so forth. So we will take a close look at it. You will find that he has not abandoned truly a Tibet independence. So I think as long as he truly abandon advocating Tibet independence and stops activities aimed at splitting the mother land, especially activities to create and to mastermind, you know, violent crimes in Tibet, as well in some other regions and to sabotage upcoming Beijing Olympic games and accept that Tibetan and Taiwan are inalienable parts of China. Again, I want to emphasize the Chinese government is ready to continue contacts and the consultations with him.

INSKEEP: Ambassador, thank you very much.

Ambassador WENZHONG: Thank you.

INSKEEP: Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong is China's representative to United States. He's talking about the recent demonstrations and violence inside Tibet. You're hearing him on MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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