BEIJING: China on Wednesday lodged a diplomatic protest with the US over a Congressional delegation’s meeting with the Dalai Lama in India, saying the move sent a “wrong signal” to the world and violated America’s commitment not to support Tibet’s independence.
“The 14th Dalai Lama is a political exile who has long been engaged in anti-China separatist activities in foreign countries under the pretext of religion, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing.
He was replying to questions on a US bipartisan Congressional delegation headed by House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi meeting the 81-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. “The Dalai Lama is also the head of the Tibetan independence group,” Geng said when asked whether the US delegation’s visit, which is the first after US President Donald Trump took over office in January, signals his administration’s policy towards Tibet.
Earlier reports said China has urged Trump, who also had a summit meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, not to hold any meeting with the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama told the delegation that he is “the longest guest of the Indian government”.He said he would be willing to visit China but it was not possible because Beijing considered him a “dangerous splittist.”China routinely protests to countries hosting the Dalai Lama or world leaders meeting with him. Last month, China lodged a diplomatic protest with India over the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as part of Southern Tibet.
In an apparent retaliatory measure, China also announced “standardised” Chinese names for six places in Arunachal Pradesh.