By MATT DRAKE
Beijing calls the Dalai Lama “a splittest” trying to take Tibet from Chinese control which it has occupied since 1950, leading to the complete overthrow of the Tibetan Government and the self-imposed exile of his holiness and 100,000 Tibetans in 1959.
The Tibetan Government-in-exile had planned to start a year of commemorative activities to mark the 60th anniversary of a failed anti-Chinese uprising with a “Thank You India” rally at New Dehli – which has since been changed to be held in Dharamshala where Dalai Lama and the Tibetan exile community are based.
But Beijing has hit out against this as a disregard of China’s concerns.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “We demand India stop using the Dalai Lama to do anything that undermines China’s interests and we also demand the Indian side not hype up sensitive issues between India and China.
“India in disregard of China’s concerns obstinately arranged the Dalai Lama’s visit to the eastern part of the India China border causing serious damage to China’s interests and to India China relations.
“The Chinese side firmly opposes this move and will lodge firm representations with the Indian side.”
Hua also dismissed New Delhi’s suggestion that the visit was religious without a political message, dismissing it as “empty words”.
She added: “We have noted the statement from officials of the Indian side.
“Can you tell me honestly do you seriously believe the Dalai Lama is only a religious leader? The answer is known to all. He is not just a religious figure.
“Therefore his visit to this place will not be of a purely religious purpose. So using these empty words to define this arrangement is not reasonable.”
Chinese state media accused India of trying to “play the Tibet card”.
Hua said the Dalai Lama issue “goes beyond internal affairs”, adding: “The role played by the Dalai Lama is clear to all.
“The issues concerning Tibet have a bearing on China’s core interests. India in disregard of China’s concerns obstinately arranged the visit.
“This will for sure trigger China’s dissatisfaction. And this will not bring any benefit to India.”
India is seeking to improve its fraught relationship with China and instructed ministers and senior officials not to attend the rally held by the Tibetan Government-in-exile.
An Indian official said: “We are not compromising. But we want to get things back on the normal track, which requires cautious management of the relationship.”
But many analysts are dismayed at New Dehli’s handling of planned anniversary function.
Activist and academic Madhu Kishwar said the Government was performing a “supine capitulation” to China, calling it “shocking and disappointing.”
Dalai Lama accused the Chinese Government of turning Tibet into “hell on earth” and driving the Tibetan language, culture and religion to the brink of extinction.