MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Monday it hoped China would do what was necessary to curtail “unlawful actions” in Tibet, in a strong show of support for its ally Beijing after Tibetans rioted against Chinese rule.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that China’s relationship with the Dalai Lama, whose supporters Beijing accuses of stirring up the trouble, was an internal matter.
“We express hope that the authorities of the People’s Republic of China will take all necessary measures to curtail unlawful actions and ensure the speedy normalization of the situation in the autonomous region,” the ministry said.
The Dalai Lama’s representative in Russia told Reuters that witnesses had seen scores of dead bodies in the local capital, Lhasa, and that protests were spreading to other regions.
But Russia, currently enjoying close ties to Beijing, made no criticism of China’s actions in the short statement, which described Tibet as an “inalienable part” of China.
China says it has shown great restraint in the face of the protests and has accused followers of the Dalai Lama of stirring up trouble in a bid to tarnish the Beijing Olympics in August.
“We would like to underline that attempts to politicize the summer Olympic Games that are to be held in China in 2008 are unacceptable,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.
“Russia is convinced that the Chinese side will guarantee the highest level of organization of the Games, including the solution of issues of security of the sportsmen and guests at the Olympics,” it said.
Russia, the world’s second largest oil exporter, is keen to export more energy, weapons and nuclear technology to China, Moscow’s third largest trading partner and a key ally on major foreign policy issues.
The Dalai Lama has said he supports the Beijing Games and has flatly rejected the Chinese claims about his having a role in the protests.
The Tibetan spiritual leader’s representative in Russia said the Chinese were presenting a one-sided view of the protests, which he said were spreading to other regions.
“We are getting some information from Tibet and the disturbances have spread. They are not only in Lhasa but also in the regions of Tibet,” the representative, who is known as Tashi, told Reuters.
“The Chinese are trying to show just one side of things — they are not showing how the Chinese army and riot police kill and arrest Tibetans,” he said.
The Dalai Lama fled Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959 and set up a government-in-exile in Dharamsala, north India.
Beijing reviles him as a separatist but he says he wants only real autonomy for the region, which Communist troops entered in 1950. The last major rioting in Tibet was in 1989.
Editing by Charles Dick