China says Don’t use Dalai Lama to harm our interests. Know why Dalai Lama is banned in China
China strongly criticises the Dalai Lama both inside and outside Tibet. It accuses him of seeking to rule Tibet and being a “splittist” who seeks Tibetan independence. His image is banned inside Tibet and Tibetans may be jailed for calling for his long life or publicly praising him. In jail, as well as in religious institutions, Tibetans are frequently ordered to denounce the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama has passed all political power in the exile Tibetan community to a democratically elected parliament and prime minister. While he continues to advocate for the preservation of Tibet’s religion, culture, language and environment, he does not support Tibetan independence and has proposed a Middle Way Approach, in which Tibet remains a part of the People’s Republic of China but has greater control of its own affairs.
Because of his profile and popularity, China objects strongly to political leaders from other nations meeting him. In recent years, senior figures in the governments of the UK, France, Germany, Norway and South Africa among others have avoided meeting the Dalai Lama, although US presidents have continued to receive him.
China on Thursday said India should stop “using” the Dalai Lama to “harm China’s interests” and state-controlled newspapers published editorials condemning India’s move to allow the spiritual leader to travel to Arunachal Pradesh.
On Wednesday, the Chinese government summoned the Indian ambassador in Beijing to register its protest.
While the Global Times called the move “clumsy and rude” and suggested it was India’s response to China for not supporting its membership bid to the Nuclear Suppliers Group or its request to blacklist terror mastermind Masood Azhar, another daily suggested that Beijing should “answer blows with blows”.
At a press conference on Thursday, the spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hua Chunying, said: “We have unequivocally expressed our opposition to India’s approval of the Dalai Lama’s activities in the disputed eastern section of the China-India boundary. The Indian side has breached its commitment on Tibet related issues, further escalated the boundary dispute and undermined mutual trust and relations between China and India.” Asked about media reports that this was India’s response to the NSG issue, Hua said: “We will not speculate about India’s motive.”
Hua said: “We urge the Indian side to stop its erroneous act of using the Dalai Lama to harm China’s interests.”
An editorial in the government-run China Daily read: “If New Delhi chooses to play dirty, however, Beijing should not hesitate to answer blows with blows”. It termed the visit a “double affront” to Beijing, observing that the Dalai Lama was not only invited to visit a disputed territory but was accompanied by a “junior minister”. It said India’s move was “not just unethical. It is outright illicit.”