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Cablegate: March 20 Mfa Press Briefing: Dalai Lama Clique,

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OO RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHBJ #1047/01 0801044
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 201044Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5943
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 3337
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 1882
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU IMMEDIATE 3812
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI IMMEDIATE 4514
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL IMMEDIATE 0610

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BEIJING 001047

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV SOCI PHUM PREL CH KS JA
SUBJECT: MARCH 20 MFA PRESS BRIEFING: DALAI LAMA CLIQUE,
JOURNALIST ACCESS TO TIBET, WEN-BROWN PHONE CALL


1. Key points at the regular March 20 MFA press briefing:

-- Wen Jiabao expressed grave concern to UK PM Gordon Brown
over his plans to meet the Dalai Lama. Reports that Wen has
agreed to meet the Dalai Lama are incorrect, as the Dalai
Lama has not yet met the preconditions for dialogue. His
actions as well as his words are important.

-- Journalists are being refused permission to visit Tibet
because of the "special situation" there. The restrictions
do not contradict pre-Olympic pledges for openness, as
journalists are required to work within the bounds of the
law. The Chinese Government is in the process of organizing
a trip to Tibet for journalists. Journalists are ethically
bound to be fair and objective in their reporting.

-- The results of the investigation into the incidents in
Tibet will be released "in due time." The Dalai Lama clique
is a handful of individuals headed by the Dalai Lama, seeking
to split Tibet from the Motherland.

-- The Chinese Government exercised "maximum restraint," and
worked only within the bounds of the law in dealing with the
riots. Thirteen "innocent people" were killed.

-- The PRC constitution protects the rights of Chinese
citizens to assemble and peacefully protest, but they must do
so within the bounds of the law and in line with the greater
interests of the Chinese people.

Wen and Gordon Brown: Grave Dismay over Dalai Meeting
--------------------------------------------- --------

2. At the regularly-scheduled MFA press briefing March 20,
MFA Spokesperson Qin Gang said that during their phone
conversation, Premier Wen Jiabao expressed grave concern to
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown about his plans to meet the
Dalai Lama, and urged him to recognize that the Dalai Lama is
a political exile fighting for independence under the guise
of religion. The Chinese Government would like all nations
to understand his true nature and not give support to his
splittist activities. Wen reiterated to Brown that the
Chinese position on Tibet and the Dalai Lama has always been
clear and has not changed.

Preconditions for Dialogue with the Dalai Lama
--------------------------------------------- -

3. The Chinese Government is willing to meet with the Dalai
Lama once he fulfills the requisite preconditions: he must
give up his plans for Tibetan independence, stop all
splittist activities and recognize that the Government of the
PRC is the only government of all of China including Taiwan
and Tibet. Responding to questions that the Dalai Lama had
already fulfilled the preconditions for meeting, Qin said
that the current problems in Tibet such as smashing, beating,
arson and looting were in fact masterminded by the Dalai Lama
clique. "There must be a thorough review of his deeds. His
actions prove that he has never stopped his words and deeds
to split the motherland," Qin said. When asked about
reporting that Wen had agreed to meet with the Dalai Lama,
Qin said that the reports are "not accurate," and reiterated
that only on the basis of the Dalai Lama meeting the
preconditions is "the door is open" for dialogue.

Journalist Access to Tibet
--------------------------

4. Asked why journalists have been refused permission to
travel to the TAR to report, Qin said Chinese law enforcement
personnel are entitled to deal with the "special situation"
there, and hoped that journalists could understand and would
cooperate with the restriction. He noted that "there is no
absolute freedom anywhere in the world." He added that the
restrictions do not contradict the official push for more
media openness ahead of the Olympics, stressing that the
Olympic charter calls for all journalists to work in
accordance with the law. Asked about reports that two German
journalists were expelled from Tibet March 20, Qin said he
was unaware of such reports. Asked if tourists have access
to western China, including Sichuan and Gansu province, Qin
said that due to safety and security, the Chinese Government
"suggests" that tourists not go.

Western Media Bias; Beijing to Organize Press Trip to Tibet
--------------------------------------------- --------------

BEIJING 00001047 002 OF 003

5. Qin said that China welcomes "objective and fair"
reporting from the foreign press corps. He said he
"understands" western interest in covering the story, and
that the Chinese Government was in the process of attempting
to arrange a trip to Tibet for foreign journalists. He
expressed hope that the press corps would be responsible and
live up to professional journalistic standards. He stressed
the need for "common sense" from reporters and emphasized the
importance of the "ethics of journalism."

Investigation into Dalai Lama Connection to Violence
--------------------------------------------- ------

6. Asked when China will release the evidence it claims it
has connecting the Dalai Lama to the violence in Tibet, Qin
replied that the investigation is ongoing, and China will
release the evidence "in due course." He added that the role
of the "Dalai Lama clique" in the violence can already be
seen in reports in the western media on the violence. He
also said that the series of actions against Chinese
diplomatic facilities abroad further implicates the Dalai
Lama. Qin said that the Ministry of Justice would carry out
the investigation. When asked how, if he investigation is
still on-going, he could announce that the Dalai Lama was
behind the violence, Qin declined to respond, claiming he had
already answered the question.

7. When pressed to define the term "Dalai Lama clique," Qin
replied, "Facts are facts. Everything will come out clearly
in the investigation." He then asked rhetorically how riots
in such a wide range of locations, including Chinese
diplomatic facilities abroad, could happen spontaneously
without orchestration. Pressed again to define the term, Qin
said it represents a handful of individuals headed by the
Dalai Lama engaged in actions to split the Chinese
motherland.

Use of Lethal Force; No Intelligence Failure
--------------------------------------------

8. Asked whether lethal force was used by Chinese
authorities in response to protests outside of Tibet, Qin
answered only for the TAR itself, stating that police forces
there did possess or use weapons of lethal force to deal with
the violence. He added that security forces there showed
"maximum restraint." Regarding reports of rioters being
killed in Aba, Sichuan Province as well as Gansu Province,
Qin stated he was unaware of specific details of the
incidents, but said that the authorities dealt with them in
accordance with the law. When asked if the emergence of
violence represents an intelligence failure for the Chinese
Government, Qin said simply that the government is capable of
safeguarding the security and territorial integrity of China.
When asked about what methods were used to break up the
riots, how many armed police had been deployed and whether
the PLA was involved, Qin declined comment, stating that the
"illegal" incidents were dealt with in accordance with the
law. Qin reacted strongly to one reporter's use of the term
"uprising" to describe the situation in Tibet, saying that it
was "criminal activities" and not an uprising. 13 "innocent
people" have been killed, Qin said, but he did not know how
many rioters had been killed.

International Dimension
-----------------------

9. Asked about the international implications, especially
for governments that meet with the Dalai Lama, Qin said that
he hoped other governments could recognize the true nature of
the Dalai Lama clique and refuse to provide him with support.
When asked if the incidents were a part of a broader push by
the West to cause the Beijing Olympics to fail, which
includes pressure on China over Darfur and possible pollution
problems during the Olympics, Qin said that "some people" are
reluctant to accept China's development and seek to create
obstacles to it. These forces do not represent the whole
international community and are running against the "trend of
the times." Asked if China would push for extradition for
the Dalai Lama from India, Qin declined comment, only noting
that China's position is "clear and consistent."

Peaceful Protests Are Allowed
-----------------------------

10. Asked if Chinese citizens have the right to peacefully

BEIJING 00001047 003 OF 003


assemble and protest, Qin directed the reporter to the
Chinese constitution, which safeguards the right to peaceful
protest. However, all protests must be done within the
bounds of Chinese law, and in keeping with the interests of
the Chinese people. He added that all ethnic groups have the
right to assemble and protest and that these rights are
"guaranteed," but that the people have "different channels"
through which to protest.

Other Issues: Kitty Hawk, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea
--------------------------------------------- -------

11. The Chinese Government applies the principle of
sovereignty regarding applications for port calls, and will
decide each one on a case-by-case basis. Qin does not think
the current situation in Tibet will alter President Hu
Jintao's plans to visit Tokyo in May. Asked a question about
using the situation in Tibet as a basis to doubt China's
desire for peaceful reunification, as well as a question
about Taiwan potentially boycotting the Olympics because of
Tibet, Qin Gang directed the reporter to the relevant
authorities. The South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan
is currently visiting China and met today with Premier Wen
Jiabao and the Minister of Information and Publicity.
Tomorrow he will meet with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and
Executive Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo.
RANDT

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