Beijing, Oct 21: As US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson prepares to visit India next week, Chi on Saturday warned that it will be deeply offended if any foreign leader meets with or any country invites the Dalai Lama. On the sidelines of the 19th tiol Congress of the Communist Party of Chi, a Chinese Minister dubbed the Tibetan spiritual leader as a “political figure under the cloak of religion”.
Chi sounds warning over Dalai Lama
“Any country or any organisation or anyone accepting to meet with the Dalai Lama in our view is a major offence to the sentiment of the Chinese people,” said Zhang Yijiong, Executive Vice Minister of the United Front Work Department of the ruling Communist Party of Chi (CPC). “Also, since they have committed to recognising Chi as a sole legitimate government representing Chi, it contravenes their attempt, because it is a serious commitment,” Zhang added.
Chi accuses the Dalai Lama of stoking unrest and secessionist activities in Tibet from where the spiritual leader fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising. The Dalai Lama has urged for more autonomy for Tibet. Beijing opposes any country or leader keeping in touch with the Dalai Lama. “I want to make it clear that the 14th Dalai Lama, the living Buddha handed down by history is a political figure under the cloak of religion,” said Zhang.
In February this year, Tillerson had told members of the Sete Foreign Relations Committee during his confirmation hearing that he is committed to promoting dialogue on Tibet and receiving the Dalai Lama. Top US Democrat ncy Pelosi had visited the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, in May, and sought to draw the world’s attention to human rights in Tibet, triggering protests by Chi.
Chi resorts to different tactics if any country hosts the Dalai Lama. For instance, Beijing blocked a major highway leading to Mongolia, crippling the economy there after Ulan Bator hosted the leader late last year. Mongolia later apologised and promised Beijing never to invite the Dalai Lama.
“Officials, in their capacity as officials, attending all foreign-related activities represent their governments. So I hope governments around the world speak and act with caution and give full consideration to their friendship with Chi and their respect for Chi’s sovereignty,” Zhang added. The comments from the Chinese Minister also comes days after Tillersoon described India as a partner in a strategic relationship and said the US would “never have the same relationship with Chi, a non-democratic society”.
According to reports, last month Chi refused to fund travel for visiting scholars at University of California, San Diego, apparently in retaliation for inviting the Dalai Lama to be its 2017 commencement speaker. In April this year, Chi had reacted violently to a visit by the Dalai Lama to Tawang, in India’s northeast border state of Aruchal Pradesh, large parts of which is claimed by Beijing. (IANS)