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China reiterates opposition to Dalai Lama’s Botswana visit next month

Dalai-Lama1(TibetanReview.net, Jul16, 2017) – In an indication of having failed thus far to talk the southern African country of Botswana out of allowing a visit next month by Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, China has gone public to express opposition to the schedule. China firmly opposes the Dalai Lama’s anti-China separatist activities and opposes him meeting with officials of any country, the country’s official Xinhua news Agency Jul 15 cited Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang as saying the day before.

Xinhua cited media reports as saying the Dalai Lama will visit Botswana and meet with its president next month, apparently with a view to suggest that it was yet to take up the issue with Botswana. However, these media reports have appeared and continued over many months and China surely could not have remained ignorant or idle about it. Besides, China is opposed not just to the meeting with the President but the visit itself.

The Dalai Lama is to address a human rights conference in the capital Gaborone over Aug 17-19 and meet with President Ian Khama. It was not clear yet whether the president will attend the peace conference as well.

The report cited Geng as telling a daily news briefing that China was opposed to any foreign official’s contact with the Dalai Lama in any form. He has called the Dalai Lama a political exile who has long engaged in anti-China separatist activities under the guise of religion.

“We hope the country will clearly recognize the nature of the Dalai Lama, earnestly respect China’s core concerns, and make the correct decision on this issue,” Geng was quoted as saying.

The Dalai Lama has for decades been seeking meaningful autonomy for his Chinese ruled homeland under the dispensations of China’s existing constitutional framework. However, China, which annexed Tibet in 1951 and placed it under full occupation rule in 1959, refuses to talk with him, saying there is no Tibet issue to be discussed.

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