Chinese protesters demand Japan refuse Dalai Lama visit, kick out former Taiwan leader
AP[Friday, December 31, 2004 02:43]
Chinese protesters demanded on Thursday that Japan refuse a visit by the Dalai Lama and expel Taiwan's former President Lee Teng-hui, as they burned a picture of Lee outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing.

"We condemn Japan," the group of more than 40 demonstrators shouted in the brief police-sanctioned protest.

Beijing accuses Lee of promoting permanent independence for Taiwan _ a democratic, self-ruled island that China has claimed as part of its territory after the two split amid civil war in 1949 _ and has strongly protested Lee's vacation in Japan this week.

"We're still following closely the visit by Lee Teng-hui and we hope that the Japanese side will abide by their commitments by not allowing him to carry out any political activities," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said at a regular briefing.

He also urged Tokyo to "take measures to eliminate the negative impacts caused by Lee Teng-hui's visit."

Next year, China's legislature is to consider an anti-secession law directed at Taiwan's push for formal independence.

"The law and the process is totally for the sake of containing Taiwan independence," Liu said. "Lee Teng-hui is the chief representative of Taiwan independence."

The Dalai Lama reportedly plans to visit Japan in April. Liu said China has already demanded the Japanese "clarify the news" of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader's trip.

China accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking independence for Tibet _ or trying to split the Chinese motherland. He has said he wants only autonomy for Tibet in order to protect its distinctive Buddhist culture.

China opposes trips by both figures to any country that has diplomatic relations with Beijing.

"Rein the horse at the edge of the cliff," a protest leader shouted into a megaphone. "Expel the Taiwan independence element Lee Teng-hui from Japan. Don't allow the splittist Dalai Lama to visit Japan."

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