Beijing on Thursday criticized the meeting between a senior US diplomat and the 14th Dalai Lama, calling it a violation of Washington’s commitment to the position that Tibet is part of China.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry, which explicitly referred to the Tibetan spiritual leader as a “separatist”, said the United States was also interfering in its “internal affairs” by appointing a special official for Tibetan affairs. It violated Washington’s commitment not to support Tibetan separatists, the ministry added.
Beijing’s strong reaction came after the United States’ special coordinator for Tibetan affairs, Uzra Zeya, met with the Dalai Lama on Thursday, the first visit by such a senior official of US President Joe Biden’s administration.
The two discussed the rich traditions of freedom and democracy in the United States and India, and Zeya conveyed Biden’s greetings to the Dalai Lama.
Zeya, who was appointed as the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Affairs last December, is visiting India and Nepal from 17-22. May.
“First of all, I would like to say that the Tibetan government in exile is an out-and-out separatist group that greatly violates China’s constitution and law. It is illegal and not recognized by any country in the world,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. , when asked to comment on Zeya’s visit at a press briefing on Thursday.
China has previously criticized the Dalai Lama and is strongly opposed to any contact between him and the world’s politicians or diplomats.
“The 14th Dalai Lama is a political exile disguised as a religious person and engages in anti-China separatist activities and attempts to split Tibet from China,” Zhao said, adding: “Tibet is part of China, and Tibetan religious Affairs is China’s internal affairs. “
He noted Washington’s appointment as a special coordinator for Tibetan affairs and said, “China is strongly opposed to this and has never recognized it.”
“The United States should take serious action to honor its commitment and admit that Tibet is part of China and does not support Tibet’s independence. It should not provide any support for separatist activities of the anti-Chinese Dalai clique,” Zhao said, adding “China will continue to take steps to defend its sovereignty, territorial integrity and development interests.”
The Dalai Lama has lived in India ever since he fled Tibet in 1959 after Beijing’s repression in the remote region. Beijing has been accused of isolating the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) by banning journalists and diplomats from traveling to the region on their own, using coercive methods to sinicize Tibetan Buddhism and deliberately eroding the distinct Tibetan culture and language.