The Strategist

China: Barack Obama seriously undermined Sino-US relations

06/16/2016 - 16:59

US President Barack Obama hosted the Dalai Lama in Washington. The meeting was arranged despite the warnings sounded from Beijing. China claims that the rendezvous with the spiritual leader of Buddhists, considered "anti-China separatist" in China, will have the most unpleasant impact on relations between the two countries.

Chuck Kennedy (Official White House photo)
Chuck Kennedy (Official White House photo)
Today, the Chinese authorities have harshly reacted to rapidly to a private meeting of the 14th Dalai Lama, the Buddhist spiritual leader, with US President Barack Obama held the day before in Washington. The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s statement says that Beijing considers the meeting as a violation of commitments on the territorial integrity of China taken by the United States. The country’s government says the rendezvous will "seriously undermined Sino-US relations." According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Chinese diplomats have repeatedly expressed their "strong opposition" to such a meeting. "The Tibet issue is an internal affair of China, and other countries have no right to interfere... President Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama sends a harmful signal to Tibetan separatists and undermines the mutual trust and cooperation between China and the United States... The 14th Dalai Lama is not a simple religious figure, but rather a politician, leading a divisive policy in the international arena under the cover of religion", - said Mr. Lu Kang, representative of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The American President’s meeting with the Dalai Lama is the fifth in a row, so China's claims, and the Americans are well aware how to answer on the insinuations. According to Josh Earnest, assistant to the President and Press Secretary in the White House Office of Communications, the private meeting of President and the Dalai Lama has nothing to do with the US-China relations, and cannot influence them. "In accordance with the policy of the United States, Tibet recognized as a part of China. The United States has not spoken about support of Tibetan independence ... and the Dalai Lama and President Obama appreciate importance of a constructive and productive cooperation between the United States and China... All of this was US policy before the meeting, and has not changed after it."

As for the meeting itself, then, according to US officials, the leaders discussed human rights and climate change. In addition, the Dalai Lama expressed his condolences to the American people in connection with the tragedy in Orlando.

China has repeatedly condemned activities of the Dalai Lama, saying he is the aimed at "splitting the country's territorial integrity." In turn, the Tibetan leader said that he seeks a "real autonomy" for Tibet, rather than restoring its independence. Despite this, the official Beijing routinely protests in connection with intentions of the world's leaders meet with the Dalai Lama, which also plays a role in reducing the country’s authority.

Zhu Weiqun, prominent official spokesperson on Tibet, is sure that the Dalai Lama's popularity is falling even in Tibet. According to him it is evidenced by reduction in number of self-immolations, which is getting smaller with each passing year. The official noted that development of Tibet "makes the situation better and better, and for this simple reason, the international influence of the Dalai Lama falls." This Weiqun said that the Dalai Lama's words about the chain of rebirths are "betrayal" in relation to religion and traditions of the Tibetan people. 

According to a Tibetan tradition, the Dalai Lama reincarnates after the death, and is reborn in a child's body with special features, which are an orienteer for other lamas. Once found, the child is acknowleged as a new Dalai Lama - the spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people. 

Dalai Lama XIV, who is nearly 80 years old, has repeatedly stated that his successor will not have political functions in the case of reincarnation. Only he and his associates may discuss this question, and his soul may dwell in a child born outside Tibet. This approach caused dissatisfaction among the Chinese leadership, which demands to respect the ancient traditions and point out that the next Dalai Lama could not be considered a leader of the Tibetans without Beijing’s consent. 


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