Beijing/New Delhi, Mar 28 : China will not punish the group of Tibetan monks that disrupted a government-organised foreign media tour of Lhasa on Thursday, said Baema Chilain, vice-chairman of the Chinese-Controlled Tibet Autonomous Region (CCTAR).
Baema said "separatists" were planning to disrupt the Olympic torch relay as it crossed Tibet, but he pledged to ensure the flame's security in the region and on its planned ascent of Mount Everest, Chinese official Xinhua news agency said. About 30 monks at the Jokhang Temple, one of the holiest in Tibet, shoved their way into a briefing and told reporters that the government was lying about the recent unrest. They also rejected Chinese claims that Tibets spiritual leader the Dalai Lama was behind the protests.
Government officials shouted for the journalists to leave, trying to pull them away while the monks continued to speak for about 15 minutes. "Tibet is not free! Tibet is not free!'' yelled one young Buddhist monk, who then started to cry. The trip through Tibet's capital was originally arranged by the Chinese government in an attempt to show foreign media the calm in Lhasa despite recent violent riots, which occurred just months before the August 8-24 Beijing Olympic Games.
China had accused the Dalai Lama of orchestrating the rash of monk-led protests and rioting - the most serious in the Himalayan region for nearly two decades - in a bid to wreck the Games and claimed overall harmony, religious freedom and well-being in the region.
Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama asked China to accept the reality in Tibet, and said that pretensions and lies couldn't work in present times.
"I think that's important. In any case in 21st century pretensions or lies cannot work," the Dalai Lama told reporters on the sidelines of a weeklong mediation camp in New Delhi on Thursday.