Dalai Lama
Dalai LamaReuters

China has cracked down on its Communist Party cadres in Tibet who have been accused of joining groups supporting Tibetan independence and the Dalai Lama, as cases of investigation of Tibetan officials spiked last year.

At least 15 officials have been accused of providing intelligence reaching up to the Dalai Lama 'clique', and for assisting in activities that are seen as harmful to national interest, China's Global Times reported.

The Dalai Lama is the spiritual head of Tibetans and is seeking autonomy for Tibet.

The 15 officials were punished last year by the Communist Party of China for violating party and political discipline, Wang Gang, a party official and member of the disciplinary commission reportedly said.

Fourty-five other officials in Tibet who were accused of abandoning their positions and neglecting their duties have also been punished, Gang said.

Officials who allegedly "failed to take a firm stand on the issue of Tibet" were severely punished, the Chinese daily quoted Ye Dongsong, head of the Communist Party Disciplinary Commission of Tibet, as saying.

The discipline inspection department in Tibet has reportedly investigated 161.1% more cases in 2014 than in 2013, according to the state-run China News Service.

"The separatism situation is still complex and grim, a small number of party officials are not firm in their political stances, and the work of maintaining stability must be continuously strengthened", the report by China news Service said.

While China has cracked down on dissenters in Tibet, anti-graft investigations in the region is 'highly unusual', according to Reuters.

Tibet has been under China's control since 1950, and its government runs in exile from India.

Pro-independence protests are often forcefully clamped down by Chinese authorities, with the police often opening fire on protesters, which include Tibetan monks.

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