China’s displeasure didn’t affect the recent Barrack Obama-Dalai Lama meet, but it has managed to stop Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav and two ministers from attending a Tibetan celebration in Kathmandu.
Yadav, Deputy PM Sujata Koirala (who is also the foreign minister) and Culture Minister Minendra Rijal cancelled their reported plans to attend the birth centenary celebrations of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, a popular Tibetan monk, under Chinese pressure.
According to reports, the Nepal President and the ministers had received invitations from Sechen Maha Boudha Bihar, a Tibetan monastery in Kathmandu, to attend the opening celebrations between February 20 and 22.
But Chinese embassy officials conveyed their displeasure to Nepal foreign ministry on Monday that if the dignitaries attended the celebrations it would be against the Himalayan nation’s professed One China policy that regards Tibet and Taiwan as integral parts of China.
Following the Chinese protest, the foreign ministry conveyed the matter to the Prime Minister’s office who in turn advised the President and the ministers to avoid attending the celebrations.
“It would have been a disaster for the government if the President and the senior cabinet ministers had attended the Tibetan programme,” said the Kathmandu Post quoting an unnamed government official.
The President’s office has meanwhile issued a statement saying that Yadav had never consented to attend the function. His press advisor Rajendra Dahal could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
Born in Tibet in 1910, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche had fled Tibet in 1959 and settled at Kathmandu in 1980. He was the head of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism from 1987 till his death in 1991.