The meeting today with President Obama and the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has caused China to issue a strong warning against the meeting.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry criticized the planned visit just hours after it was announced, with spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, urging that the meeting be canceled and calling it a “crude interference in China’s domestic affairs.” She said holding it would “severely impair China-U.S. relations.”
“Tibet-related affairs fall entirely within the internal affairs of China, which allow no foreign interference,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement. “The Dalai Lama is a political exile who has long been engaged in anti-China separatist activities under the cloak of religion.”
China calls the Dalai Lama a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” who seeks to use violent methods to establish an independent Tibet.
The Dalai Lama, who fled to India after a failed uprising in 1959, maintains he only wants genuine autonomy for Tibet and denies advocating violence.
The Chinese government considers the Tibetan spiritual leader a separatist, and bans open displays of his photograph in Tibet. The top Communist Party official stated that China was planning to clamp down on the spiritual leaders message.
“Strike hard against the reactionary propaganda,” Chen Quanguo, the party chief in Tibet, wrote in the party journal Qiushi. He said the government would confiscate illegal satellite dishes, heighten monitoring of online content and take other measures to prevent the dissemination of the Dalai Lama’s message in areas with Tibetan populations so that “the voice and image of the enemy forces and the Dalai clique are neither seen nor heard.”
China took control of Tibet in 1950 in a massive invasion.
Human rights groups have accused China of inhuman treatment of the religious, cultural and linguistic rights of Tibetans while enforcing its rule using brutality, which has caused self-immolation of hundreds of Tibetans since 2008.
“The president will meet with the Dalai Lama in his capacity as an internationally respected religious and cultural leader,” said a statement issued late Thursday by Caitlin Hayden, a National Security Council spokeswoman.
“The United States supports the Dalai Lama’s ‘middle way’ approach of neither assimilation nor independence for Tibetans in China,” Hayden said. “We will continue to urge the Chinese government to resume dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, without preconditions, as a means to reduce tensions.”
The White House was expected to release a statement about the meeting later on Friday.
Image via YouTube