(TibetanReview.net, Jan17’23) – Responding apparently to reports late last month that high-ranking monks from Sri Lanka had invited Tibet’s exile spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to visit their country during their pilgrimage and meeting with him at Bodh Gaya in the Indian state of Bihar, the Charge d’affairs of the Chinese embassy in Colombo has warned Jan 16 that this should not happen.
The Charge d’affairs, Mr Hu Wei, has said any such visit could damage the friendship between Sri Lanka and China, reported the srilankamirror.com.
The mutual trust between the two countries is based on the ‘One China policy’ and Tibet is not an independent country but a part of China, Hu has said during an exclusive interview with Sri Lanka Mirror at the Nellligala Temple, Kandy, after the conclusion of the Fa Xian project in Kandy district.
The report said the Buddhist monks at Kandy, including the Maha Nayaka Theros, had assured Hu that none of them had invited the Dalai Lama to visit Sri Lanka.
The Buddhist Association of China had, with the participation of Guangji Temple and Lingguang Temple in Beijing, Cuangxiao Temple in Guangzhou, Hongfa Temple in Shenzhen, Putuo Temple in Zhuhai, Dafo Temple in Guangzhou and Anfu Temple in Wenzhou, collected about USD one million with contributions from Buddhist devotees to assist needy Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka under the ‘Faxian Charity Project’ due to unprecedented economic hardships faced by Sri Lankan society, said the dailynews.lk/ Dec 30. Some 50,000 dry ration packs were stated to have been distributed among needy families through Buddhist temples in the country, for which a ceremony was held.
Those who met with the Dalai Lama on Dec 27 at Bodh Gaya and invited him to Sri Lanka, as reported by the ANI Dec 27, included the Most Venerable Waskaduwe Mahindawansa Mahanayake Thero, Sri Sambuddha Sasanodaya Sangha Sabha; Most Ven Makulewe Wimala Mahanayake Thero, Chief Prelate of Sri Lanka Ramanna Maha Nikaya; and Ven. Muruddeniya Dhammarathana, Thero of the Asgiri Chapter.
Sri Lanka is in deep economic crisis, including as a result of its huge debt to China. The high-ranking monks who met with the Dalai Lama were reported to have been critical of the situation in Tibet under Chinee rule and hoped that his visit would draw a surge of Buddhist pilgrims from across the world to the country and also help revive its economy.
“I believe, like His Holiness has been to Bodh Gaya. If he goes to Sri Lanka, many thousands of tourists will come to Sri Lanka which will boost the economy because we are in a crisis situation. And, if His Holiness goes to Sri Lanka, many tourists will come here similar to Bodh Gaya. We will be blessed and the economy will also be boosted,” Most Venerable Waskaduwe Mahindawansa Mahanayake Thero was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, a visiting high-level delegation of the Communist Party of China on Jan 16 promised that with regard to debt restricting, Sri Lanka would have “some good news soon”, reported the IANS news service Jan 16.
The delegation was led by Vice Minister Chen Zhou, Head of the CPC International Department. He was reported to have told Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, “Several Ministries and financial institutes of China are working closely on this issue for quite a long period. I’m confident that Sri Lanka will have good news very soon.”