11/04/2009, 00.00
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China increasingly nervous about the Dalai Lama, Tibetan prime minister says

by Nirmala Carvalho
Samdhong Rinpoche tells AsiaNews that Beijing’s criticism of the Dalai Lama’s visit to the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh “should not even be taken seriously”. For Beijing, the Dalai Lama is a liar. For Indian Prime Minister Singh, he is “a religious, not a political leader, and an honoured guest of India”.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – Chinese comments about the Dalai Lama’s visit to the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh “should not be taken seriously.”All they show is that Beijing is edgy because of the lack of legitimacy of its claim to the territory. This is forcing Chinese leaders to make false and fabricated accusations, this according to Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of Tibet’s government-in-exile. The prime minister spoke to AsiaNews about China’s reaction to the Dalai Lama’s planned visit to the border State on 8 November.

Government newspaper China Daily said the Dalai Lama “lies and often engages in acts to sabotage China's relations with other countries,” the newspaper wrote.

We have expressed our grave concerns. We believe that this once again exposes the nature of the Dalai Lama as anti-China," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said. "We firmly oppose the visits of the Dalai Lama to the border regions [. . .] this is a separatist action."

Manmohan Singh responded in person to China’s criticism. “I explained to Premier Wen that the Dalai Lama is our honoured guest and he is a religious leader,” and that “We do not allow Tibetan refugees to indulge in political activities”.

Since Mao’s takeover in 1949 and the Dalai Lama’s flight in 1959, he and his government have operated out of the Indian city of Dharamsala.

Arunachal Pradesh has been at the centre of a dispute between the two countries. Beijing has long claimed that it belongs to China.

According to Rinpoche, “this is the fifth visit of the Dalai Lama to the State, actually the sixth, if you count the time when he went through the State on his way to Dharamsala. It is a routine visit, planned long time ago. The Dalai Lama will inaugurate a hospital, and the local population wants to receive his dharshan (blessing). It is clearly a religious trip, nothing political about it.”

Speaking about the crackdown in Xinjiang, the Tibetan prime minister said, “The Chinese know no other way but to use repressive measures against minorities. Through them, they try to control the minorities, but the human spirit will resist. Still, the Chinese will intensify their brutality and repressive policies towards others.”

“It is worrisome to see the world keep silent when human liberties are crushed and human rights violated anywhere on the planet. Regrettably, we are now witnessing the rise of a new world order dominated by violence and trade at the cost of human values, dignity of the person.”

For the general director of India’s Foreign Ministry in New Delhi, Nirupama Rao, Indo-Chinese relations are not tense. For him, the Indian government’s position is clear since it does consider the Dalai Lama a political prisoner but a guest, free to move in the country wherever he wants because he also does not indulge in politics.

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