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Page last updated at 15:40 GMT, Monday, 21 April 2008 16:40 UK

China seeks to 'educate' Tibetans

Rioters overturn a car in the Tibetan capital Lhasa, March 2008
The initiative follows rioting on the streets of Lhasa in Tibet

China has launched an "education" campaign in Tibet it says is designed to undermine support for the Dalai Lama and any separatist sentiment.

The Tibet Daily newspaper said the campaign was to "unify the thinking... of officials and the masses".

The initiative follows violent clashes last month between police and monks in Tibet, and pro-Tibetan demonstrations around the world.

Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama of inciting unrest - claims he has denied.

The Tibetan spiritual leader, who lives in exile in India, insists he has no political role and played no part in the protests by Tibetan Buddhist monks that erupted into rioting in the main city Lhasa.

But he condemned the Chinese crackdown that followed, and accused Beijing of committing "cultural genocide" in Tibet.

Tibetan sympathisers and human rights activists have since used the worldwide tour of the Olympic torch to protest against Beijing's hosting of the Olympic Games this August.

Security tightened

China's Communist Party has long used what it calls "patriotic education campaigns" to impose discipline and reinforce its authority, says the BBC's Daniel Griffiths in Beijing.

The Tibet Daily says the latest drive will include television programmes and a series of sessions in which the Dalai Lama will be denounced by Communist Party members, other officials and local people.

Campaigns requiring monks in Tibetan monasteries to denounce the Dalai Lama and declare their loyalty to Beijing have also been stepped up.

China has poured troops into Tibet and tightened its borders ahead of the passage of the Olympic flame through the territory, on its way to Mount Everest in early May.

It accuses the Dalai Lama of wanting to divide Tibet from China and sabotage the Olympics.

France targeted

Protests have recently erupted in China to counter those that have accompanied the torch relay in the West.

The incidents that were brought about by a few people on this sad day don't reflect the feelings of my fellow countrymen for the Chinese people
Nicolas Sarkozy

The French supermarket company Carrefour has been targeted with an attempted boycott for allegedly supporting the Dalai Lama - though it has denied doing so.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy apologised in a letter to a disabled Chinese athlete who was jostled as she carried the Olympic torch in Paris, in an apparent attempt to soothe ties with China.

However, Paris city council has said it will give the Dalai Lama honorary citizenship.

Bertrand Delanoe, the city's Socialist mayor, said the gesture would "pay tribute to a champion of peace - a tireless advocate of dialogue between peoples".


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