China keeps up heat on Dalai Lama
BEIJING, China -- China is keeping up its attack on the Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan, accusing the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader of collaborating with pro-independence forces on the island.
A commentary by the official Xinhua news agency Sunday said the Dalai Lama's tour was "a political visit" driven by separatist motives he shares with officials in Taipei.
"The Dalai's second Taiwan trip will certainly be a political visit for collaborating with Taiwan independence forces to separate the motherland," Xinhua said.
Pointing to the planned meetings between the exiled Tibetan leader and leading members of Taiwan's government the agency asked: "how could Dalai's trip be a pure 'religious tour'?"
On Saturday, at the start of his 10-day visit to the island, the Dalai Lama called on China to send a representative to the island to "watch my movements and investigate whether I'm involved in anti-Chinese activities" as Beijing claims.
Arriving in Taipei on a flight from Delhi, he was greeted by groups of rival protesters.
One group of pro-mainland activists chanted anti-Dalai Lama slogans while pro-independence groups countered with the chant: "Free Tibet. Free Taiwan."
The Nobel Peace Prize winner has described his visit to the island, which Beijing regards as a renegade province, as a spiritual mission.
However planned meetings with President Chen Shui Bian and former President Lee Teng Hui have led Beijing to accuse the Dalai Lama of dabbling in politics and seeking to build an alliance with Taiwan to push for independence from the mainland.
This visit has been fiercely criticized by China's state-run media, who say the trip is evidence that independence forces in Tibet and Taiwan are ganging up against China.
The Dalai Lama has tried to play down the political significance of his visit, but Taipei-based Andrew Yang of the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies says the meeting of Taiwan pro-independence leaders "is bound to have some political implications".
"Although the Dalai Lama has reiterated it is a religious visit, it does show that he is in close ties with the incumbent Taiwan government which China dislikes," he said.
CNN.com senior China analyst Willy Lam says Beijing views the Dalai Lama's visit as further proof of the existence of a global anti-China conspiracy between the pro-independence movements in Taiwan and Tibet, the Falun Gong, and so-called anti-China elements in the United States.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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