Apr 24, 2009

Tibet: China Opposes US Meeting Dalai Lama

Active ImageChina firmly opposes a meeting between US President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama when he visits the US later this year.



Below is an article published by The Washington Post :

China said Thursday [23 April 2009] that President Barack Obama should not meet the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, when he visits the United States in October [2009].

Although a meeting has not been confirmed, every president since George H.W. Bush has met the Dalai Lama, raising the ire of China, which says the Nobel Peace laureate is bent on splitting Tibet from China.
"We firmly oppose the Dalai's engagement in separatist activities in any country under whatever capacity and under whatever name," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said when asked to comment on a possible meeting.

"We have made representations to the United States urging the U.S. to honor its commitments and not allow the Dalai to engage in separatist activities in the United States," she told a regular news conference.

Jiang did not say what would happen if a meeting did take place. China canceled a major summit with the European Union last year [2008] because French President Nicolas Sarkozy met the Dalai Lama.

A White House visit for the Dalai Lama would be seen as a powerful message to Tibetans and others struggling for human rights around the world, but would come as the United States seeks crucial Chinese cooperation on several crises, such as the global economic recovery efforts and dealing with nuclear standoffs in North Korea and Iran.

The Dalai Lama is celebrated in much of the world as a figure of moral authority. In response to China's claims that he seeks Tibetan independence, the Dalai Lama has said repeatedly that he wants only "real autonomy" for Tibet.

Obama's administration has already faced criticism that a growing emphasis on U.S-Chinese economic and diplomatic cooperation has fueled reluctance to confront the Chinese on sensitive human rights and trade issues.

In February [2009], the Obama administration delighted China when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said during her trip to Beijing that the United States would not let its human rights concerns interfere with cooperation with Beijing.