Chinese ambassador slams media, Dalai Lama

In a rare and robust news conference in Ottawa, the Chinese ambassador to Canada, Lu Shumin, has blamed the Dalai Lama and the news media for what he called "false" news coverage of the situation in Tibet.

China's ambassador to Canada, Lu Shumin, had some strong words Wednesday for the international news media and supporters of the Dalai Lama.

During a rare and robust news conference at his embassy in Ottawa, the ambassador said much of the reporting on the violence in Tibet this month has been based on false information and a lack of understanding of history.

"People in the West [see] the Dalai Lama as some sort of angel, some sort figure of peace," Lu said, "but look at Tibet before [the Chinese invasion in] 1949, before 1959, and you'll find out what the Dalai Lama was, what he still is."

The history of Tibet before the Chinese takeover was brutal and filled with bloodshed, the ambassador said. He said he'd done some research on the internet and discovered that a high-level expedition from Nazi Germany visited Lhasa in 1939 to study Tibetan ways and see if they fit into the Nazi worldview. Nazi scientists did make an uninvited visit to Tibet at that time.

Chinese control of Tibet had actually established respect for human rights, Lu said.

Dalai Lama to blame: Lu

Lu began his news conference by showing video clips of riots in the Tibetan capital. He blamed the Dalai Lama and his government in exile in India  — which China refers to as the "Dalai clique" — for the violent protests.  

"He says he advocates for peace, for non-violent protests," Lu said of the Tibetan spiritual leader, who has called for an end to violence by all sides in Tibet, "but [these] video clips show otherwise. [The riots] are being carried out by separatist groups that are encouraged by the Dalai clique."

But the door is open to dialogue with the Dalai Lama, the ambassador said, so long as he accepts that Tibet is part of China.

"He must stop his separatist, his 'splittist' ways."

Asked about growing pressure on world leaders to threaten China with a boycott of this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing, Lu said such action is up the countries and individuals involved. But he urged politicians and the media not to introduce politics into international sports.

"We don't agree with politicizing the Olympics," he said. "It is against the spirit of the Games, and I think most Canadian athletes would agree with me.

"These are going to be some of the best Games in history."

The Chinese government is believed to have instructed its diplomats and officials abroad to try to counter what Beijing feels is unfairly negative coverage of China's response to the protests in Tibet.

Alex Neve of Amnesty International Canada said the ambassador's news conference showed that the Chinese government was rattled by some of the negative publicity it's getting over Tibet.

"Basically this is an aggressive public relations offensive that will be received with a fair bit of dubiousness," Neve told CBC news.