China loses friends over Tibet

What is the Chinese view of the Dalai Lama? Wen Jiabao, the premier, has said that the rioting by Tibetans was “organised, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai clique”, whose claims to be pursuing not independence but peaceful dialogue “are nothing but lies”.

Zhang Qingli, the Communist Party secretary in Tibet, has described the Dalai Lama as “a wolf in monk’s robes, a devil with a human face but the heart of a beast”.

Yet Wednesday Mr Wen told Gordon Brown by phone that he would be prepared to enter into dialogue with the exiled Tibetan leader if he renounced violence and did not advocate independence for Tibet. As the premier well knows, those two conditions have already been met. So when will the talks begin?

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