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Monday, 28 August, 2000, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
China intensifies anti-Dalai Lama campaign
The Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama's influence inside Tibet is still strong
By Rupert Wingfield Hayes in Beijing

The Chinese Government appears to be intensifying its campaign against the influence of the Dalai Lama inside Tibet.

Chinese state media confirms that schools and universities in Tibet have been told to step up their propaganda campaign against what it calls the 'infiltration' by the Dalai Lama clique.

Tibetan exile groups say the campaign goes much further and has led to the expulsion of monks from monasteries, house to house searches and threats against individuals suspected of supporting the exiled Tibetan leader.

Monks at a monestary in Tibet
Monks in Tibet are one of the government's targets
The groups say the new campaign against the Dalai Lama has been going on for several months.

They say it has included the expulsion of 30 monks from one of Tibetan Buddhism's oldest temples, and house to house searches for religious objects and photographs of the exiled Tibetan leader.

They say the primary target of the campaign has been government workers and communist party members, who have reverted to practising Buddhism.

They say some families have also been ordered to withdraw their children from Buddhist schools in India, or risk losing their jobs.

Schools campaign

None of the accusations in the reports have been confirmed by the Chinese government.

But there are other indications that an intensified campaign is under way.

Last week communist party officials in Lhasa announced a major campaign in Tibet's schools and universities.

The Karmapa Lama
The Karmapa Lama was being groomed to support the Beijing government
The main focus, they said, would be to oppose the influence of the Dalai Lama.

The campaign was described as part of an intense and complex struggle.

Exile groups say the campaign comes in response to the defection of the Karmapa Lama, the third highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism.

The Chinese government had been grooming the fifteen year old Lama to become the pro-Beijing leader of Tibetan Buddhism and to lend legitimacy to Chinese rule over Tibet.

Late last year the Karmapa Lama suddenly disappeared from Tibet turning up a month later in India and leaving Beijing's Tibet policy in tatters.

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See also:

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25 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
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23 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
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18 Feb 00 | South Asia
Dalai Lama's appeal for Tibet
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