Bush calls for religious freedom in China, Beijing summons US ambassador
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – “The move is a blatant interference in China's internal affairs. It has hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and gravely undermined bilateral relations,” said an official foreign ministry statement made in response to the US awarding the Dalai Lama of a Congressional Gold Medal and the meeting between the Buddhist leader and US President George W. Bush.
For many analysts, Beijing’s violent reaction stems from the fact that after the meeting with Tibet’s spiritual leader President Bush urged China before the world media to grant its citizens freedom of religion and stop its policies of cultural and political repression in Tibet, which was occupied by Mao’s troops in 1950 and annexed to the People’s Republic of China.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi summoned the US ambassador right after the president’s statement. Although nothing is known about what was said during the meeting, foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said that the recognition given to the Dalai Lama “is a blatant interference in China's internal affairs. It has hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and gravely undermined bilateral relations.”
Mr Liu said that Tibet was an inalienable part of China and a purely internal affair. Beijing resolutely opposes any country or people using the Dalai Lama to interfere in its domestic affairs.
“The words and deeds of the Dalai Lama in the past decades have showed that he is a political exile engaged in secessionist activities under the camouflage of religion,” Liu said.
The award of this medal and the meeting of US leaders with him “have severely trampled on the norms of international relations and violated the US government’s reiterated position on the Tibet issue,” Mr. Liu said.
“We express our strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition toward this,” he added.