China dismissed the Dalai Lama’s announcement of political retirement, callling it a ‘trick to deceive the international community’. China's reaction puts a question mark on Beijing's future dialogue with the Tibetan government-in-exile which is campaigning for greater autonomy and religious, cultural freedom for Tibetans.
"The Dalai Lama is a political exile under a religious cloak, engaged in activities aimed at splitting China. He’s also a mastermind and political colleague of Tibetan exiles," said foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu on Thursday. She said the government-in-exile is an ‘illegal political organisation’ not recognised by any country.
Beijing and the exiled Dalai Lama’s representatives have held nine rounds of talks without concrete progress up to February last year.
The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said that during the eleventh session of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile on March 14 he would formally propose amendments to the charter for Tibetans-in-exile to reflect his decision to devolve authority to an elected leader.
His announcement also coincides with the 2008 anniversary of unrest that erupted in the Tibetan region against decades of Chinese rule. This week, Beijing imposed a temporary ban to prohibit foreigners from entering Tibet.
In Beijing, Qiangba Puncong, chairman of the standing committee of Tibet’s regional people’s congress told Xinhua that the Dalai Lama was putting up a ‘political show to mould public opinion.’ "Whatever moves they make, Dalai Lama's 'retirement' or electing a successor, will all be illegal and not recognised," he said. "His speech is to declare publicly that he will not give up his attempt to sabotage unity and split China using any methods."