Senior Chinese official outlines situation in Tibet

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Visiting party chief of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China Zhang Qingli outlined the general situation and major changes in Tibet to New Zealand officials Tuesday.

Zhang said that, in contrast with their meager living under the savage, dark and cruel serfdom that prevailed before liberation, all ethnic groups in Tibet were now leading a happy life and would enjoy an even brighter future.

On the issue of the Dalai Lama, the party chief said the 14th Dalai Lama had been engaged in separatist activities without doing a single good deed for the Tibetan people since he betrayed his motherland and fled abroad more than 50 years ago.

The Dalai Lama was not purely religious but a political exile, who had long been attempting to split China, he said.

Zhang, head of a visiting delegation of the Communist Party of China, also answered questions concerning religious freedom, environmental protection, the improvement of people's livelihood, preservation of cultural relics and education and healthcare in Tibet.

During the meetings, Zhang offered condolences to quake and tornado victims in the New Zealand cities of Christchurch and Albany.

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