China asks Tibetan monks to ''break from separatist forces''

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Beijing, Jul 21: A day after it vowed to crush any attempt to undermine stability in Tibet, China on Wednesday asked Tibetan monks to "make a clean break with separatist forces" led by the Dalai Lama.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who is currently in Tibet to attend 60th year of celebrations of its "peaceful liberation", took a rare initiative to address a meeting of the monks at a famous monastery in Lhasa.

Xi, who is widely expected to become president in 2013, called on people from the religious circle in Tibet to "make a clean break with separatist forces" during his visit to the Jokhang Temple, said the official Xinhua news agency.

Tibet has been an inalienable part of China since ancient times and people from the religious circle have helped maintain social stability, national integrity and ethnic unity, he told a gathering of more than 100 monks.

Xi's comments came days after Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing labels as a "separatist", was warmly welcomed by US President Barack Obama during his recent visit to America.

"The (ruling Communist) Party and the government will not forget your positive contributions," Xi said, urging them to carry on the patriotic spirit, stay in line with the Party and the government, and strive for Tibet's development and the improvement of the people's living standards.

Monks wields considerable spiritual influence over Tibetan people. Many of them took part in the 2008 riots in Lhasa in which several killed and many injured.

PTI

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