Strong protest lodged over US Congress award to Dalai Lama

(China Daily)
Updated: 2007-10-19 07:19

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Thursday summoned US Ambassador to China Clark T. Randt to lodge a strong protest against the US awarding the Dalai Lama with a "Congressional Gold Medal".

"The move is a blatant interference in China's internal affairs. It has hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and gravely undermined bilateral relations," ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular news briefing Thursday.

He urged Washington to immediately take effective measures to remove "the terrible effects of its erroneous act and stop conniving with, and supporting, 'Tibet independence' secessionist forces".

The US Congress awarded the medal to the Dalai Lama at a Capital Rotunda ceremony on Wednesday in the presence of US President George W. Bush.

The event marked the first time a sitting US president has appeared in public with the Dalai Lama, who also held talks with Bush at the White House on Tuesday.

Liu said the US moves seriously violate the norms of international relations as well as its long-held position that Tibet is an inalienable part of China.

He said Tibet is purely China's internal affair and Beijing resolutely opposes any country or people using the Dalai Lama to interfere in its domestic affairs.

"The Chinese people's resolve to safeguard the nation's sovereignty and territorial integrity is firm and unshakeable," he said. "Any attempt to interfere in China's internal affairs using the Dalia Lama is doomed to failure."

Responding to reports that the Dalai Lama accepts the sovereignty of China and only seeks autonomy instead of "independence" for Tibet, Liu said it is his scheme to get international support.

"The words and deeds of the Dalai Lama in the past decades have showed that he is a political exile engaged in secessionist activities under the camouflage of religion," Liu said.

Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region government, also condemned the Dalai Lama for his separatist activities over the past 48 years.

He said the Dalai Lama has been engaging in the push for "Tibet independence" rather than the development of Tibet and the well-being of the Tibetan people.

The human rights situation in Tibet when the Dalai Lama exercised the rule of feudal serfdom and theocracy was the worst in the world, Qiangba Puncog said.

He stressed that only after the central government introduced the policy of regional autonomy for ethnic groups in Tibet did the Tibetan people begin to manage their ethnic affairs and enjoy democracy.

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress of China also criticized the US Congress for honoring the Dalai Lama.

"The provocative move ... is highly offensive to the Chinese people. We hereby express our strong indignation at, and firm opposition to, this act."

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