Biased Western media have unfairly criticized China over recent unrest in Tibet, which has in fact been provoked by the exiled religious leader the Dalai Lama, the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh said April 18.
Speaking to local reporters, Ambassador Zhang Jinfeng said Western media had fabricated reports on the unrest in Tibet. “China has got pictures from the place itself. The Western media invented the pictures and it’s fake,” she said. “They want to paint China black in color.”
Anti-government protests in Tibet turned violent on March 14 and media reports indicate Chinese civilians were attacked while over a hundred Tibetans have been detained.
Zhang Jinfeng said the protests had caused 18 deaths, injured 282 people and caused nearly $36 million in damage, including the destruction of over 300 structures by fire.
“We have evidence that it was done by the Dalai Lama group, who have planned the incitement,” she said. “They took the opportunity to cause violence, making it bigger, importantly to disturb the Beijing Olympic preparations.”
This evidence had already been made public by China’s official news agency Xinhua, China Central Television and the Chinese Foreign Ministry, she added.
Thupten Samphal, spokesman for the Central Tibetan Administration, the Dalai Lama’s government in exile, said April 18 that the Buddhist leader was accustomed to such accusations from Chinese officials.
“If the Chinese authorities had proof that His Holiness was behind the unrest, they would be able to produce the evidence. This is not a new accusation,” he said by telephone from Dharamsala, India.
“If they don’t have evidence, they should respect an international body to investigate the conditions,” he added.
China’s official message in Cambodia and elsewhere was of less concern to the Tibetan government in exile than the effect it may be having on people in China itself, Thupten Samphal said.
“What we’re concerned about is regarding Chinese government propaganda and its effect on the people there. It’s very harmful,” he said.
“People in China don’t have access to any free and independent information. They just know what the government tells them.”
Zhang Jinfeng also said she was pleased that King Norodom Sihamoni and a Cambodian delegation would attend the Aug 8, Olympics opening ceremonies in Beijing, which several world leaders have said they will be unable to attend.
Government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith could not be reached April 18, however Deputy National Assembly President Nguon Nhel said politics should not influence Cambodia’s participation in the ceremonies.
“To attach sport to politics is not right,” he said, adding that other countries should not intervene in internal Chinese matters.
“It is their separate matter. The international community should not interfere,” he said.
The Associated Press also reported April 18 that the Olympic torch had arrived in Thailand and was to be paraded in Bangkok April 19 under heavy security.
“I am regretful that the torch will not be in Cambodia,” Zhang Jinfeng said.
“In my opinion, if the torch came to Cambodia it would be successful. The people are traditional friends of China.”