China is keen to continue its struggle against Dalai Lama’s influence

China is keen to continue its struggle against Dalai Lama’s influenceChina will make countering the Dalai Lama's influence the "highest priority" in its work on ethnic affairs in Tibet, Reuters reported on Friday, citing the region's Communist Party boss.

China's Foreign Ministry expressed anger and threatened countermeasures this month after the Tibetan spiritual leader spoke at the European Parliament in France.

"First, we must deepen the struggle against the Dalai Lama clique, make it the highest priority in carrying out our ethnic affairs, and the long-term mission of strengthening ethnic unity," Tibet party secretary Wu Yingjie said in a speech published on Friday in the official Tibet Daily.

"(We must) thoroughly expose the reactionary nature of the fourteenth Dalai Lama, crack down on separatist and subversive activities, and strive to eliminate at their roots harmful elements that damage ethnic unity," Wu said.

Identifying the effort to crack down on Dalai Lama’s influence the top task in the region's ethnic affairs suggests Wu will ratchet up the government's already hardline approach in the devoutly Buddhist region, which is prone to anti-Chinese unrest.

Wu was appointed Tibet's top official in late August, and has vowed stronger criticism of the Dalai Lama.

Tibetans, one of China's 56 officially recognized minority groups, are guaranteed legal protection for their languages and cultures. But they are often marginalized and treated with suspicion by Beijing, which views them as potential separatists.
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