Beijing condemns Obama meeting Dalai Lama

Updated: 2014-02-21 12:13

By PU ZHENDONG and MO JINGXI (China Daily)

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Washington has grossly interfered in China's domestic affairs and seriously damaged Sino-US relations by hosting the Dalai Lama on Friday, Chinese officials and observers said.

US President Barack Obama met the 14th Dalai Lama in the White House Map Room. It was Obama's third such meeting in five years as president.

Beijing condemns Obama meeting Dalai Lama

Opinion: Obama's move is harmful 

Beijing condemns Obama meeting Dalai Lama

CPC's stance on religious belief 

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said after the meeting was announced: "China strongly opposes the meeting. The Tibet issue is part of China's internal affairs that no other countries shall interfere with.

"We urge Washington to cancel the arrangement and not facilitate and provide a platform for the Dalai Lama's anti-China separatist activities in the United States," Hua said at a news conference.

Hua described the Dalai Lama as a political exile who has been actively engaging in anti-China separatist activities "under the cloak of religion".

"His ‘middle way' approach is deceptive, and in nature is a political guideline for ‘Tibet independence', which the Chinese government will absolutely not tolerate," she said.

Observers said the Dalai Lama is merely a pawn that Washington is using to curry domestic support and block China's rapid development.

"The White House's decision on whether to meet the Dalai Lama or not depends on its domestic situation and on Sino-US relations," said Li Haidong, a researcher of US studies at China Foreign Affairs University.

"The meeting can reinforce the political influence of Obama and his Democratic Party in the country," Li said.

He said Washington also wanted to use the meeting to show its discontent over China establishing an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea, and with tensions in the South China Sea.

The meeting comes at a critical time, with the two countries celebrating the 35th anniversary of diplomatic relations and constructing a "new type of big country relations" based on principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and cooperation.

Sun Zhe, director of the Center for US-China Relations at Tsinghua University, was quoted by Reuters as saying, "China will send a strong message of protest ... and warn Obama not to go too far, because we still have a major, new relationship to build."

Jin Canrong, professor of political science at Renmin University of China, said Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama will adversely affect the healthy momentum of Sino-US ties.

"It reflects Washington's double-faceted policy toward Beijing. On the one hand, it tries to approach China through cooperation, and on the other hand it seeks to restrain the country through provocation on issues in China's core interest," Jin said.

"On many occasions in recent years, Washington has chosen to contain China at times that call for the utmost cooperation," he said.

Li said the meeting seriously violates China's core interests, and poses a direct threat to its security and stability.

"However, the Dalai Lama can never stop the prospect of a deeper and more comprehensive bilateral relationship," he added.

On Thursday, Washington said in a statement it recognizes Tibet as part of China and does not support "Tibet independence", but expressed concerns over "the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibetan areas of China".

Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said it views the Dalai Lama as an internationally respected religious and cultural leader.

Hua, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said Chinese people are "most eligible" to have a say on human rights conditions in Tibet.

"Breathtaking changes have taken place in every respect. It is an undeniable truth for any individual without political bias," she said.

Sun Zhe, from Tsinghua University, said Obama's decision to meet the Dalai Lama shows the US president's disrespect for China on religious freedom.

"The lobbying by the Dalai Lama and his clique has drawn support in US society and instilled different perceptions," he said.

Xinhua and Reuters contributed to the story.

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