- The Washington Times - Friday, November 8, 2002

From combined dispatches

BEIJING China's Communist Party chief Jiang Zemin today ruled out following Western-style multiparty democracy in a speech at the opening of the 16th National Party Congress, which is expected to focus on limited political reform within the party.

But the leader of China echoed Chairman Mao Tse-tung's refrain of "let 100 flowers bloom and 100 schools of thought contend" in an appeal for academic and political openness.

"We must keep to the orientation of serving the people, and socialism, and the principle of letting 100 flowers bloom and 100 schools of thought contend and highlight the themes of the times while encouraging diversity," Mr. Jiang said in the text of the speech prepared for delivery.

Mr. Jiang said China would push ahead with grass-roots changes that have fostered village elections.

Meanwhile, Chinese army troops moved into a Tibetan-inhabited region of western China and arrested five men after a months-long investigation into prayer ceremonies held in honor of the Dalai Lama, an overseas Tibet support group said.

The report casts doubt on what had appeared to be signs of a thaw in relations between China and the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual and temporal leader who lives in exile in India. He fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese.

The Dalai Lama denied that yesterday during his first visit in seven years to Mongolia, whose people share centuries-old religious and cultural ties with Tibet.

"I am not seeking independence. I am seeking self-rule. I think that benefits both Chinese and Tibetan people," he said in a speech yesterday at Mongolian National University. He did not elaborate, but has previously appealed for greater Tibetan cultural and political autonomy.

The five men were arrested Oct. 18 in the Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan province, according to the New York-based International Campaign for Tibet. Authorities have not told relatives what charges the five might face, saying only that the crimes were serious, the group said in a news release.

Others from the area fled to India after being summoned for questioning by police, the group said.

Ganzi, known in Tibetan as Kandze, was traditionally regarded as part of Tibet, but was placed under a neighboring province after Chinese troops occupied the Himalayan region in 1951.

The group said the arrests appeared to be related to a series of traditional Buddhist rituals held in Ganzi in February to pray for long life for the Dalai Lama. At the party congress in Beijing, Mr. Jiang also declared hat the ruling Communist Party wanted to fight "terrorism in all its forms" and urged international cooperation in the effort.

Addressing the party congress' opening session, held under saturation security next to Beijing's central Tiananmen Square, Mr. Jiang called for focus on both the symptoms and causes of terrorism.

"It is imperative to strengthen international cooperation in this regard, address both the symptoms and root causes of terrorism, prevent and combat terrorist activities and work hard to eliminated terrorism at root," he said.

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