Dialogue with Dalai Lama only about his future, not about Tibet: China

BySutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Nov 11, 2021 06:42 AM IST

China’s foreign ministry said the 14th Dalai Lama should stop activities aimed at splitting China and stop plotting and inciting violence.

China on Wednesday said it was ready for dialogue with Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama but it would only be about his future and not about Tibet.

The Chinese foreign ministry said the 14th Dalai Lama should stop activities aimed at splitting China and stop plotting and inciting violence.

The ministry was responding to a question on the Dalai Lama telling an online forum that he had no particular plan to meet President Xi Jinping and whether Beijing was willing to resume dialogue with the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin called the government-in-exile an “out and out separatist political group”.

“The so-called Tibetan government-in-exile is an out and out separatist political group. It is against China’s constitution and laws, it is an illegal organisation. No country in the world recognises it,” Wang said on Wednesday.

“The central government in China, on engaging and discussing issues with the 14th Dalai Lama, the position is consistent and clear. The door to dialogue and engagement is open,” he said, before clarifying: “I would like to stress that the only matter that can be discussed is the future of the Dalai Lama himself, not to do anything with Tibet”.

“What the Dalai Lama should do is to stop secessionist activities and take concrete measures to win the trust of the central government and the Chinese people,” Wang added.

Speaking at an online forum, hosted in Tokyo, Dalai Lama, 86, on Wednesday criticised the leaders of China saying they “don’t understand the variety of different cultures” there and that there is too much control by the main Han ethnic group.

A Reuters report from Tokyo quoted him as saying that he had nothing against “Chinese brothers and sisters” as fellow humans and he broadly supported the ideas behind Communism and Marxism.

“Though the Dalai Lama said he had no plan to meet China’s leader, Xi Jinping, he said he would like to visit again to see old friends since ‘I am growing older’ - but would avoid Taiwan since relations between it and China are ‘quite delicate’,” the Reuters report said.

“I prefer to remain here in India, peacefully,” he said.

Wang’s mention about the Dalai Lama’s future comes in the backdrop of the issue of his succession.

In May, China said it would choose the successor to the Dalai Lama through “drawing lots from the golden urn” with the candidate subject to the approval of the Communist Party China (CPC)-ruled central government.

Citing historical precedence, a government policy paper on Tibet said the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and other grand Living Buddhas have been subjected to approval by the central government since an ordinance passed during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 via northeastern India following a Chinese crackdown on an uprising by the local population in Tibet.

The Tibetan leader was granted political asylum in India and the Tibetan government-in-exile has been based in Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh since then.

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    Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

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