Dalai Lama: 'Demographic Aggression' Making Tibetans a Minority in Homeland

A Chinese government policy of "demographic aggression" is threatening Tibetan culture, the Dalai Lama said Saturday, as increasing numbers of non-Tibetan Chinese move into his troubled homeland.

"There is evidence the Chinese people in Tibet are increasing month by month," the Tibetan spiritual leader told reporters, calling the population shift a "form of cultural genocide."

In Lhasa, the region's ancient capital, there are now 100,000 Tibetans but twice as many outsiders, he said. The majority of those are Han Chinese, the country's ethnic majority.

He also said that one million more people are expected to be settled in Tibet after this summer's Olympics. He did not say how he received that information.

The comments by the Dalai Lama, who has been based in India since fleeing his homeland decades ago, came as diplomats were preparing to leave the Tibetan capital after a quick overnight visit. It was the latest move by China to show it is in control of the region after deadly anti-government protests more than two weeks ago.

Beijing blames the unrest on the Dalai Lama and his supporters.

The protests in Tibet, and other regions with large Tibetan populations, have brought immense unwanted attention on China and its human rights record ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

China wants to use the games to showcase itself as an emerging international power and an important player in the international community.

The Tibet protests, led by monks, began peacefully March 10, on the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule. Tibet had been effectively independent for decades before Chinese communist troops entered in 1950.

Tibetan exiles say almost 140 people have died in the recent protests. Beijing puts that number at 22.