Meeting Dalai Lama major offence, China warns world leaders

Meeting Dalai Lama major offence, China warns world leaders

 China on Saturday warned that it would consider as a "major offence" if any country or foreign leader hosts or meets the Dalai Lama as it deems the Tibetan spiritual leader a "separatist" trying to split Tibet from it.

China routinely protests world leaders meeting the Dalai Lama. It also makes it mandatory for all the foreign governments to recognise Tibet as part of China, to have diplomatic relations with Beijing.

It also protested when the Tibetan spiritual leader was permitted by India to visit various areas in the north- east, including Arunachal Pradesh, this year.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against the Chinese rule in his Himalayan homeland. He has been living in India in exile since then.

"Any country or any organisation of anyone to accept 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 China (CPC).

"Also, since they have committed to recognising China as a sole legitimate government representing China, it contravenes their attempt, because it is a serious commitment," Zhang said on the sidelines of the once-in-a-five-year congress of the CPC. Zhang said China would not accept the arguments of foreign countries and leaders to meet the 82-year-old Dalai Lama as a religious leader. "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.

Without naming India, he said Dalai Lama fled to the "other country" in 1959, "betraying his motherland and set up his so-called government in exile".

That "so-called government" has the mission of a separatist agenda to split Tibet from China, he said.

"For decades, the group with 14th Dalai Lama as the leader never stopped to achieve that political agenda," he said.

There is no legitimate government that has recognised the Dalai Lama group, he said, adding that fewer countries and leaders are hosting him. Some countries may say the Dalai Lama is not a political figure, but a religious figure and their officials meet him not in his political capacity.

"But that is not true and not right because every official represents the government and they are political figures," Zhang said.

"So, we urge all to exercise caution and prudence to bear in mind the respect for China's sovereignty and for their relations and friendship with China," he said. Zhang also claimed that Tibetan Buddhism originated from China.

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