China Warns Tibet Clergy Against Demonstrations

February 19, 2009

Author: Christopher Bodeen

Source: The Associated Press

A Communist Party official in Tibet has warned Buddhist clergy against political activity in the run-up to the first anniversary of last year's massive anti-government protests.

The warning from Lobsang Gyaincain, published in the official Tibet Daily on Thursday, followed a reported crackdown earlier this week on Tibetan protesters in Lithang, a volatile traditionally Tibetan region of Sichuan province. Those protesters had praised the exiled Dalai Lama and called on Tibetans to abstain from celebrations of the Tibetan new year to mark the anniversary of the demonstrations.

Lobsang Gyaincain, who is a member of the standing committee of the regional Communist Party, also demanded that monks and nuns recognize what he called the "reactionary nature" of the Dalai Lama clique, as well as plots to use temples and clergy to carry out "infiltration and disturbances," Tibet Daily reported.

Clergy must "refuse to take part in activities aimed at splitting the motherland, and not take part in illegal marches, demonstrations and other activities that disrupt social order," it quoted Lobsang Gyaincain as telling a meeting of clergy on Wednesday.