China on Tuesday accused exiled Tibetan religious leader, the Dalai Lama, of “masterminding” Tibet independence protests — a day after Jamphel Yeshi, a Tibetan activist, set himself on fire in New Delhi to protest Wednesday's visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao.

“Recently the Dalai group is sparing no effort to incite Tibet independence activities by making various troubles,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said of Monday's self-immolation. This followed at least 30 similar protests by monks and nuns who have set themselves on fire in several Tibetan areas across China over the past year to protest restrictive religious policies.

Of Mr. Yeshi's protest, Mr. Hong said: “This behaviour once again shows that the Dalai group is masterminding similar actions. Such behaviour for Tibet independence, splittist political schemes at the cost of human life is doomed to failure, and will be strongly condemned by the international community.”

The Dalai Lama has, however, stressed that he did not encourage such incidents, although he has blamed Beijing's policies for driving Tibetans to carry out the protests.

Chinese officials said last week they “appreciated” India's stand that Tibet was a part of China and that India did not allow the Dalai Lama “to use its territory for any separatist activities against China.”

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