07/10/2017, 16.01
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The Dalai Lama’s 82nd birthday sparks Beijing’s anger against Delhi

A Chinese Communist Party's newspaper slams the celebrations, which saw the Tibetan flag hoisted. For the paper, India uses the “Tibet card” in its diplomatic relations with Beijing; however, "more Western countries have snubbed the Dalai Lama." The incident raises the possibility of trade sanctions.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, celebrated his 82nd birthday in a big ceremony that attracted thousands of people,

The celebrations took place last Thursday on the shores of Pangong Lake, in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, on the border between India and China.

For the occasion, Indian authorities allowed the exiled Tibetan government, headquartered in Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh, to organise the event in the neighbouring Indian state.

China, which for years has accused the Dalai Lama of being a "wolf in monk’s robes" and secretly plotting Tibet’s independence, expressed great disappointment for this concession.

An article published today in the Global Times, a Communist Party newspaper, said that "New Delhi cannot afford to mess up the China-India bilateral relationship." For China, the celebration is an affront.

On this occasion, “the ‘Tibetan national flag’, a pro-independence symbol adopted by the Tibetan government-in-exile, was unfurled on the shores of Bangong Lake, known as Pangong Lake in India,” wrote The Global Times.

“The timing of the flag-hoisting on Indian territory has sparked wide speculation over whether the Indian authorities instigated the political activity of Tibetan separatists to exert pressure on China. Although the involvement of New Delhi remains unclear, we hope they did not send any signal of approval.”

Beijing's position is not new. Since he went into exile in India in 1959, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, has been in the crosshair of communist propaganda.

China has always objected to celebrations in his honour, as well as to his spiritual travels in other countries, and have tried to stop information about him from circulating on the Internet.

The paper goes on to say that “New Delhi publicly promises not to allow any anti-China political activities by Tibetan exiles on Indian territory. But it has long used the Tibet question as a diplomatic card in dealing with Beijing."

“When the Indian government attaches great importance to its relationship with China, it keeps a tight grip on anti-China political activities on its soil. However, when it is dissatisfied or has conflicts with Beijing, the Tibet card is played up. But India may overestimate the influence of Tibetan exiles.

“With the rise of China and as Tibet becomes better off, Tibetan independence runs counter to the will of Tibetans. The space for Tibetan separatists has been largely squeezed as more Western countries have snubbed the Dalai Lama. The Tibet card is gradually losing its value.

The article leaves no room for misunderstandings about China’s position. India, it says, “has the responsibility to control Tibetan exiles and their anti-China activities on Indian soil.”

The article ends with a veiled threat of economic sanctions. “New Delhi should think more about how to de-escalate the border face-off at this moment. China is India's biggest trading partner. For India, with a vast population living in poverty, peace and opportunities of development are of vital importance. New Delhi cannot afford to mess up the China-India bilateral relationship.”

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