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China accused on social media of misinformation in seeking Sri Lanka ban on Dalai Lama

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(TibetanReview.net, Jan18’23) – The Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka has on Jan 17 launched a second attack on a move by a section of the country’s high-ranking Buddhist monks to seek a visit by Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, while hurling profanities on the 1989 Nobel Peace laureate. However, it has been met with a public meltdown on social media, reported the swarajyamag.com Jan 17.

A Chinese embassy statement on Twitter was stated to have referred to the Dalai Lama as a “political exile disguised as a religious figure” who has been engaging in “anti-China separatist activities” and attempting to split Tibet from China.

It was stated to invoke the existence of a strong relationship between two countries, particularly their Buddhist communities, to insist that Sri Lanka must prevent the Dalai Lama’s visit – which would be tantamount to promoting ‘Tibetan independence’ – and, instead, safeguard the China-Sri Lanka relations from being damaged.

“Chinese government and people strongly oppose any foreign country to receive the Dalai Lama in any name, because the 14th Dalai Lama is absolutely not a ‘simple monk’ as he self-claimed,” the Twitter statement was quoted as saying.

However, the report said, the statement and its strong language had been met with backlash on social media, with many accusing the embassy of using misinformation to target the Dalai Lama and other Tibetans seeking autonomy and independence from Chinese Communist Party rule.

Earlier, on Jan 16, the Charge d’affairs of the Chinese embassy in Colombo, Mr Hu Wei, made the same point in an interview with Sri Lanka Mirror at the Nellligala Temple, Kandy, after the conclusion of the Fa Xian charity project in Kandy district for Buddhist monasteries.

He was stated to have received assurances from the Buddhist monks at Kandy, including the Maha Nayaka Theros, that none of them had invited the Dalai Lama to visit Sri Lanka.

The swarajyamag.com report noted that earlier, in 2015, China had expressed appreciation for Sri Lanka’s stance of not issuing a visa for the Dalai Lama.

Sri Lanka has been dealing with a difficult economic situation since 2020 and requires the backing of China and India, its biggest bilateral lenders, to reach a final agreement with the IMF on a $2.9 billion loan that is essential to put its economy back on track, the report said.

The country is stated to owe Chinese lenders $7.4 billion – nearly a fifth of its public external debt – by the end of last year, citing calculations by the China Africa Research Initiative.

The country also owes India around $1 billion that will come under the debt restructuring plan. New Delhi separately provided Sri Lanka with about $4 billion in rapid assistance between January and July last year, including credit lines, a currency swap arrangement, and deferred import payments, the report said.

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