China has issued its strongest recent criticism of Tibetan spiritual leader, the
Dalai Lama - calling him a political exile who directly heads an illegal
theocratic government. The comments came Friday in Premier Wen Jiabao's press
conference at the end of the annual session of China's legislature, the National
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao discussed a host of issues
in a news conference that stretched for more than two hours.
ranged from the global economic crisis, to the Central Asia-focused Shanghai
Cooperation Organization, to debt relief for developing nations in
The issue that the Chinese Premier spoke about most forcefully,
though, was Tibet, which he stressed was an inalienable part of China's
Wen says Tibet-related issues are completely China's internal
affairs and that Beijing will accept no foreign interference on the
The Chinese leader also had strongly critical words for Tibet's
exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who fled to India after a failed
uprising against Chinese rule in his homeland.
The premier said Beijing
considers the Dalai Lama a political exile, not a religious figure.
pointed to the Tibetan government in exile, which is based in Dharamsala,
India. He called that government theocratic and illegal, and said it is under
the direct leadership of the Dalai Lama.
This comment preceded his
recitation of what has become a standard phrase - Beijing wants to see what the
Dalai Lama does, not what he says.
Premier Wen accused the Dalai Lama of
misleading political figures around the world, but added that some western
leaders are also trying to use him for their own purposes.
leader had a much different approach to Taiwan, a separately-governed island
Beijing considers a renegade province and has been trying to woo.
called Taiwan a "treasure island" and said he has a long-cherished hope of going
to visit it someday.
In the only comments that elicited apparently
spontaneous applause, Mr. Wen said he is already 67 years old, and even if he
could no longer walk, he would crawl to get to the island.
issues, the premier said he is, in his words, "a little bit worried" about
China's "huge amount" of U.S debt, which totals about $1 trillion. He urged the
United States to continue to be what he called "a credible nation" that can
"ensure the safety of Chinese assets."
Meanwhile, he said China is
working very hard to cope with the negative effects of the global economic
downturn. He said China is aware that no country can overcome these economic
difficulties alone. But at the same time, he said his country's view is that,
in his words, "we would rather dig a well for ourselves than beg for water from