China’s state media on Thursday warned overseas Indians of “political consequences” if they interfere in the country’s internal affairs, after a US university headed by an Indian-origin academic invited exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama.
According to a report in the state-run Global Times, the University of California San Diego (UCSD) on February 2 said it has invited the 14th Dalai Lama to address the graduating students at their commencement ceremony in June.
The announcement has triggered protests from Chinese mainland students at the university, the report claimed.
“By calling the Dalai Lama ‘the exiled spiritual head and leader of the Tibetan people’ and ‘a man of peace,’ the UCSD has shown admiration for the Buddhist monk,” the paper said.
“What is laughable is that the person behind the infamous invitation was campus Chancellor Pradeep Khosla, an Indian-American. The campus website posted a photo of Khosla who met the Dalai Lama in Dharmsala, India, last October. This shows how some Indian-Americans agitate China-India and China-US relations,” it said.
“But he is not the first and the only person to take such action. In recent years, as Indian authorities gradually offset the support for the Dalai Lama, some public organisations supporting the Buddhist monk have become more active. In 2008, many Indians and Westerners in Nepal held demonstrations in Kathmandu against the Beijing Olympic torch relay,” it said.
“Some Indians in European countries have also tried to lobby local officials for more opportunities for the Dalai Lama to speak to an international audience. With a clear knowledge of the Chinese government’s stance toward the issue, these Indians overseas are deliberately opposing China,” it said.
“India is a big country in terms of public diplomacy, but if some overseas Indians make it their business to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and treading on their sovereignty, they will bear the political consequences,” it warned.
“Since modern times, the Indians have enjoyed unity bestowed by the British. They ramified Pakistan, annexed Sikkim, and exploited geopolitical interests from ethnic divisions in Sri Lanka and Nepal. If the Indians indulge in the obsession of intruding on the territorial integrity of China, China will not sit still,” it said.
The article also attacked the new Trump administration.
“The US may have played a role in the UCSD invitation. The invitation was announced right after Rex Tillerson was sworn in as the US secretary of state. It may serve to echo Tillerson’s supportive stance toward Tibet’s ‘Government in Exile’ and the Dalai Lama,” it said.
“If Donald Trump’s administration wants to alter the consensus reached between China and the US after the end of WW-II over Tibet, they will thoroughly embarrass themselves,” it said.