'Dalai Lama's death will not affect Tibet'

Dalai Lama
New Delhi, Mar 8: A high-ranking Chinese official has said that the Dalai Lama's death will not affect the Tibet autonomous region's overall situation, but will likely have some minor impacts.

"As a religious character, the Dalai Lama does have some influence over his believers," said Qiangba Puncog, head of the standing committee of the autonomous region's people's congress and former chairman of Tibet.

"But he has no power over Tibet's political issues. So the overall social situation will remain stable, and we are prepared to handle some minor turbulence after his death," he told reporters in Beijing.

The 14th Dalai Lama came to India and formed the "Tibetan government-in-exile" after he was forced by the Chinese government to flee with his supporters in 1959.

China also blamed the Dalai Lama for fomenting riot on Mar 14, 2008, in Lhasa that killed at least 18 people and injured 400.

"It's not that the anti-Chinese forces and the Dalai clique haven't thought of stirring up unrest in Tibet since the March 14 incident," said Zhang Qingli, the party chief of Tibet.

"But the fact is that they haven't been able to do so because Tibetans know how precious peace is," he added. Zhang said the Mar 14 incident was the most personally upsetting experience he dealt with since he became party chief nearly six years ago.


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