(TibetanReview.net, Jan29, 2017) – Although it was apparently meant to be a private gathering, a Jan 15 dinner hosted by the outgoing US Ambassador to India, Mr Richard Verma, for his visiting friend Hollywood star Richard Gere, and attended also by exile Tibetan leaders, has reached the public domain following a social media remark by India’s junior Home Minister Mr Kiren Rijiju who also was a guest. China has condemned it as interference in its internal affairs while thehindu.com, often known for its unabashed pro-communist China stance, has called it support for Tibet’s independence.
Thehindu.com Jan 28 claimed that the US ambassador, by hosting prominent Tibetan representatives in his residence for a dinner, revived the issue of independence for Tibet. The report did acknowledge that the event was held in private but was made public by the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Mr Rijiju on the social media on Jan 27.
The report said Mr Rijiju thanked the envoy for the dinner in his Twitter posting. “Nice meeting my dear friend Richard Gere again. Thank you HE Richard Verma for a wonderful dinner and great tenure as USA Ambassador to India,” Rijiju was quoted as saying.
On the same day, when queried on this by India’s PTI news agency, China’s Foreign Ministry has stated: “We are firmly against any country’s official contact with it in any form, and resolutely opposed to any country’s interference in China’s internal affairs by using Tibet related issues as an excuse.”
The reports said photographs posted on his Twitter page showed the executive head (or Sikyong) of the exile Tibetan administration at Dharamashala, India, Dr Lobsang Sangay, and other US diplomats.
Thehindu.com report also quoted Mr Tempa Tsering, senior Tibetan leader and advisor who was present at the event, as saying, “The dinner showed that the Tibetan issue remains strong in the international affairs, and we are hopeful that the support of the United States will continue during the presidency of Donald Trump.” He has added that there were meetings with other US diplomats as well during the dinner meet.