New Delhi (NVI): China has opposed the Trump administration for signing a new Tibet law on choosing the next Dalai Lama without Beijing’s interference, asking the US to stop interfering in its “internal affairs”, saying that this may “further damage” the bilateral relations between the two countries.
“Tibet-related issues, as part of China’s internal affairs, bear on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and allow no interference by any external forces. The Chinese government is determined to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in a statement.
“We urge the U.S. side to stop exploiting relevant issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs, and take no actions to implement articles in the Act that target China and hurt China’s interests, so as to avoid further damaging China-US cooperation and long-term development of bilateral relationship,” he added.
The Chinese foreign ministry’s reaction came after Trump signed a bill that authorises US sanctions on Chinese officials if they interfere in the selection of the next Dalai Lama by Tibetan Buddhists.
The US President signed the act on Sunday as part of the massive USD 2.3 trillion package for the year-end bill to provide long-delayed coronavirus relief and fund the federal government.
The US senate had last week unanimously passed the bill despite China’s protest. Beijing asserts that its approval is a must for choosing the successor to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
According to the Central Tibetan Administration, the move has dramatically strengthened US policy on Tibet and reaffirmed the US government’s steadfast support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the CTA.
The legislation signed by Trump calls for the establishment of a US consulate in Tibet’s main city of Lhasa. It also asserts the absolute right of Tibetans to choose a successor to the 14th Dalai Lama and the preservation of Tibet’s environment.
With Trump signing the bill, the US will try to build pressure on China to patiently wait and allow the 14th Dalai Lama to identify his reincarnation, and not impose its own choice.
Notably, after escaping from Tibet when it was invaded by the Chinese in 1950, the Dalai Lama had taken shelter in India in April 1959 and thousands of Tibetans followed him in the Himalayan town of Himachal’s Dharamshala where he has been living in exile since then. As per an estimate, over 80,000 Tibetans are living in exile in India.