Then, in January, in a religious address delivered in India, the exiled Dalai Lama called on Tibetans to stop wearing wildlife skins, to save animals from extinction.
The results were dramatic: from Lhasa to Gansu, Tibetans gathered for public fur burnings.
Confronted with this evidence of his continuing influence, the Government accused the Dalai Lama of promoting "social disorder" and responded, bizarrely, with a pro-fur campaign in which TV presenters were ordered to wear fur on air.
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