China on Saturday said foreign leaders hurt the sentiments of Chinese people when they meet the Dalai Lama. Friendship with China was contingent on foreign countries ignoring the Dalai Lama, a senior Chinese official said.
“I hope the governments of foreign countries can speak and act cautiously (on this matter). They need to take the friendship with China and the respect to China’s sovereignty into consideration,” Zhang Yijiong, executive vice-minister of the United Front Work Department of CPC Central Committee, said.
No country recognizes the Dalai Lama’s government in exile which he established in Dharamshala in India after fleeing China is 1959, Zhang said. And yet, some leaders of these countries meet the Tibetan leader against Beijing’s express wishes, he added.
“The fact is that there is not a single legitimate government in the world that recognises the so-called Tibet government-in-exile. Although the Dalai Lama has been received by certain officials, the governments that those officials work for actually don’t recognise his group,” Zhang said.
Beijing is trying to control Dalai Lama’s worldwide influence which makes it easy for him to decide his successor. The Tibetan leader’s visits abroad and meetings with foreign leaders is one of the reasons behind his influence. China has been trying to stop this trend, often lobbying with different countries to refuse visa to him.
Beijing regards the Dalai Lama as a separatist who is trying to split China. But the Dalai Lama says he is not for an independent Tibet and is merely working for greater autonomy for Tibetan speaking areas of China.
It is natural for any country to object to foreign leaders meeting someone who is out to split the country, Zhang said. “So it is inevitable for China to state strong opposition when the 14th Dalai Lama visits foreign countries and even is received by some senior officials,” Zhang added.