China says Mahatma Gandhi event in Beijing was shifted for ‘technical reasons’
The celebration on Wednesday had been hurriedly shifted to the Indian embassy after official permission was denied for it to be held at Chaoyang Park a day before the event, HT had reported.Updated: Oct 03, 2019 20:18 IST
China on Thursday said India’s celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in Beijing was shifted due to “technical reasons” and not the denial of permission for holding the event at a public park.
The celebration on Wednesday had been hurriedly shifted to the Indian embassy after official permission was denied for it to be held at Chaoyang Park a day before the event, HT had reported.
Chinese embassy spokesperson Ji Rong said: “We have learned that due to the celebration activities of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Indian embassy in China has been advised to hold this year’s 150th birth anniversary celebration of Mahatma Gandhi somewhere else.”
She added, “It’s purely for technical reasons.”
Mahatma Gandhi, Ji said, is an important historical figure who led India to win independence, and is widely respected in China and the world. “The Chinese side welcomes the hosting of relevant events in China to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi,” she said.
The October 2 event has been annually held for more than a decade at a folk art museum at Chaoyang Park, a sprawling and popular public park in Beijing that has the only sculpture of Gandhi in China.
The tradition was set to continue until authorities at Jintai Art Museum, the venue, informed the Indian embassy on Tuesday that the Beijing government had denied them permission to hold the event.
The sudden snap in tradition came ahead of the second summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping, expected to be held in Tamil Nadu next week. After an upswing in ties since the first informal summit in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in April last year, bilateral ties have recently dampened following China’s strong reaction to India’s revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
First Published: Oct 03, 2019 20:16 IST