BEIJING (Reuters) - China dismissed accusations that religious repression was increasing in Chinese-ruled Tibet, and accused its spiritual leader, the exiled Dalai Lama, on Tuesday of wanting to reintroduce serfdom to the Himalayan region.
London-based Tibet Watch said on Monday China had started building police stations close to, or even in, monasteries, limiting the number of monks or nuns and making them take exams to prove their loyalty to China.
Although visitors to Tibet may notice rebuilt and restored monasteries and monks and nuns apparently able to practice Buddhism freely, it was only for show, the group said.
China has ruled Tibet with an iron hand since Communist troops invaded the region in 1950. But many in Tibet still pledge loyalty to the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Dalai Lama, despite Beijing’s condemnation of him as a “splittist” and traitor for staging a failed uprising and fleeing to India in 1959.
China regularly defends its rule in Tibet, saying the Communists ended centuries of serfdom and brought prosperity to the underdeveloped region.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a news conference he thought so little of the Tibet Watch report he would not comment on it directly.
“Their lies are too many,” he said, adding that the Dalai Lama wanted to restore what he called “a terrible dark system of serfdom” on the Tibetan people.
“The Dalai clique wants to revive its dream of a serf system,” Qin said.
“No matter what visage he appears in, no matter what he says, his unspoken words, his essence is not to recognize Tibet as part of China.”
Reporting by Chris Buckley; writing by Nick Mackie and Roger Crab