China Warns Foreign Leaders Against Meeting Dalai Lama
Chinese politician Zhang Yijiong said there is no excuse for foreign leaders to visit Tibetan leader Dalai Lama.
China has taken another step in its attempt to alienate the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan religious leader in exile, by saying that there is no excuse to the foreign officials who meet him even in a personal capacity.
“Although some people say, the Dalai is a religious figure, our government didn’t put in an appearance, it was just individual officials, this is incorrect,” Zhang Yijiong, the head of the Communist Party’s Tibet working group, said on the sidelines of a party congress, Reuters reported. Zhang is also a vice minister at the United Front Work Department.
“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,” he said, PTI reported. “For decades, the group with 14th Dalai Lama as the leader never stopped to achieve that political agenda.” Without naming India, Yijiong added that the Dalai Lama fled to the “other country” in 1959 “betraying his motherland and setup his so called government in exile”.
The Dalai Lama, a Nobel Laureate, fled China after a failed uprising against the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959, and now lives in Himachal Pradesh, India. He has been fighting for an autonomous Tibet but China claims that the Himalayan region has been part of their country for centuries and that Tibetan Buddhism is a part of Chinese Buddhism.
“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 their friendship with China and their respect for China’s sovereignty,” Zhang added. The Dalai Lama is considered a separatist by China.
In January 2017, Chinese government had banned Tibetans from visiting Bodh Gaya in Bihar, India, where the Dalai Lama was present for a sacred ritual. The pilgrims’ passports were also confiscated. The pilgrims who had reached Bodh Gaya were reportedly forced to return when the government threatened the lives of their families.
The renewed restrictions also apply to its citizens who want to visit Nepal as they want to prevent Tibetans from visiting India through Nepal.
China had also objected when the spiritual leader visited Arunachal Pradesh in India in April this year. Beijing claims the state is a disputed territory, calling it a part of southern Tibet.