China changing Tibet's demography: Dalai Lama

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New Delhi, Mar 29 (UNI) The Dalai Lama today accused Beijing of ''cultural genocide'' and effecting a ''demographic change'' in Tibet after the August Olympics even as he maintained that the Tibetans were not seeking ''independence'' from China as it involved ''too much of risk''.

''We have strong evidence that China was going to effect a major demographic change in Tibet. They are going to settle one million Chinese there after the Beijing Olympics,'' the Tibetan spiritual leader told a news conference.

He said half a million Chinese population was already settled in Tibet.

''We also have strong evidence that the Chinese population in Tibet is increasing month by month.'' The Dalai Lama also said after the Olympics a new China town was going to be established in Western Tibet.

''This is very very serious. A cultural genocide is taking place in Tibet,'' he added.

The Dalai Lama further said this was being done intentionally and unintentionally as well.

The Chinese government has imposed a lot of strict restrictions on the monastic institutions which are very important for the Tibetan culture, he said.

''This is intentional. And the unintentional is that an overwhelming 200,000 Chinese have got settled down in Lhasa over the years while the Tibetan population stands at 100,000. The Tibetans are being forced to speak Chinese and not their mother tongue,'' the leader of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile said.

He also asserted that the Tibetans were only seeking ''meaningful autonomy'' and not ''independence'' or ''separation'' from China as remaining with the Asian economic giant was in their ''larger interest''.

''We do not want independence from China as it involves too much of risk. We only want meaningful autonomy. Remaining with China is in our own larger interest,'' the Tibetan spiritual leader said.

Apart from the spiritual advancement, the Tibetans also need material development, he added.

''We are not anti-Chinese. We are not seeking separation from China,'' the Dalai Lama added.

He said the Tibetans only want full guarantee and assurances from the Chinese government that it would preserve their cultural heritage and provide them with complete religious freedom.

The Dalai Lama also reiterated his support for the Beijing Olympics, saying China, being the most populated nation in the world, deserved to host the games.

''Despite the sad events in Tibet where several innocent people have been killed, the Olympic games must go on in Beijing,'' he added.

The Tibetan spiritual leader said his stance on the Olympic games in China remained unchanged.

''There is no change in my stand. The Olympic games will take place in Beijing and not in Lhasa. We are not anti-Chinese ...certainly not. We are not against the games being hosted in China,'' he added.

The Dalai Lama said his position on Olympic Torch also remained the same as the flame was part of the games.

''I have already extended my support to the Olympic games in China. My stand has also come in for criticism from various quarters. I acknowledge that.'' He said right from the beginning there were some NGOs and individuals who had expressed concern.

''The Chinese human rights record is very very poor. This is a good time and very important to remind them of their human rights record,'' the Dalai Lama said.

In order to be a good host to the Olympic games, the leader of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile said China must improve its record in the field of human rights and religious freedom.

''It is very logical, very reasonable. So the world community, including we Tibetans, think the Chinese need to be reminded about their record on Human Rights, religious freedom and the Tibetan case,'' the Dalai Lama said.

Asked about the reported threat that some countries would boycott the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, the leader of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile said his stand on the games was clear.

''It is up to the countries to decide whether they want to boycott the opening function. I have no authority to issue instructions to them. I cannot dictate terms to them. I am fully committed to democracy,'' he added.

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