China says foreign leaders cannot get away with meeting the Dalai Lama, even in personal capacity

Foreign leaders can’t think they can get away with meeting exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama just because they are doing it in a personal capacity, as they still represent their government, a senior Chinese official said

Reuters October 21, 2017 12:08:35 IST
China says foreign leaders cannot get away with meeting the Dalai Lama, even in personal capacity

Beijing: Foreign leaders can’t think they can get away with meeting exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama just because they are doing it in a personal capacity, as they still represent their government, a senior Chinese official said on Saturday.

China says foreign leaders cannot get away with meeting the Dalai Lama even in personal capacity

File image of Dalai Lama. AFP

China considers the Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, to be a dangerous separatist. The Nobel Peace Prize winning monk says he simply seeks genuine autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.

Visits by the Dalai Lama to foreign countries infuriate China, and fewer and fewer national leaders are willing to meet him, fearing the consequences of Chinese anger, though some have tried to placate Beijing by saying they are meeting him in a personal not official capacity.

Zhang Yijiong, who heads the Communist Party’s Tibet working group, told reporters on the sidelines of a party congress that there could be no excuses to meeting the Dalai Lama.

"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," said Zhang, who is also a vice minister at the United Front Work Department, which has led failed talks with the Dalai Lama’s representatives.

"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," he added.

China took control of Tibet in 1950 in what it calls a "peaceful liberation" and has piled pressure on foreign governments to shun the Dalai Lama, using economic means to punish those who allow him in.

China strongly denies accusations of rights abuses in Tibet, saying its rule has brought prosperity to what was a remote and backward region, and that it fully respects the religious and cultural rights of the Tibetan people.

China also insists that Tibet in an integral part of its territory and has been for centuries.

Zhang, who worked in Tibet from 2006-2010 as a deputy Communist Party boss, said that Tibetan Buddhism was a special religion "born in our ancient China".

"It’s a Chinese religion. It didn’t come in from the outside," he said.

Updated Date:

also read

Xi Jinping declines Joe Biden's proposal to meet face-to-face during 90-minute call
World

Xi Jinping declines Joe Biden's proposal to meet face-to-face during 90-minute call

The US president reportedly proposed to his Chinese counterpart that the leaders hold the summit in an effort to break an impasse in US-China relation

US Senate votes to ban products from China's Xinjiang over human rights violations of Uyghur Muslims
World

US Senate votes to ban products from China's Xinjiang over human rights violations of Uyghur Muslims

The measure now heads to the House of Representatives, which must pass it if it is to reach President Joe Biden's desk for his signature

Boris Johnson likely to meet Joe Biden on sidelines of UNGA
World

Boris Johnson likely to meet Joe Biden on sidelines of UNGA

Johnson is expected to hold bilateral talks with Biden during his four-day trip to the US for the UNGA, and the prime minister will try to mend relations with Washington