China slams EU over Dalai Lama visit

The Dalai Lama delivers a speech at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, eastern France, on 15 September 2016.

The Dalai Lama delivers a speech at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, eastern France, on 15 September 2016. AFP/Getty Images/Frederick Florin

AFP

BEIJING, China, 19 September 2016

China slammed the European Union’s parliament Monday for receiving the Dalai Lama, saying the move could damage relations between the EU and the world’s second largest economy.

In remarks at the European Parliament in Strasbourg Thursday, the Tibetan religious leader called on the EU to offer “constructive criticism” to China on the issue of Tibet.

“China strongly opposes the European Parliament’s mistaken actions,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters during a regular briefing, saying “we cannot be expected to do nothing.”

The Dalai Lama fled to India after a failed uprising in 1959, but is still deeply revered by many Tibetans in China.

Beijing vigorously lobbies against foreign leaders meeting the Nobel Peace Prize laureate “in any form” and accuses him of being a “wolf in monk’s robes” who seeks Tibetan independence through “spiritual terrorism”.

Lu said relations with the EU were developing rapidly and that there was good communication between both sides before adding: “But this time the leaders of the European Parliament insist obstinately on having their own way and adhering to the wrong position, undermining China’s core interests and also seriously damaging the political basis for bilateral parliamentary exchanges.”

The Dalai Lama arrived in France last week, his first visit to the country in five years.

He urged European politicians to offer China constructive criticism on Tibet “at a time when Chinese leaders, even hard-line partisans, are facing a kind of dilemma over how to deal with this problem”.

Though the trip focused on inter-faith dialogue, environmental issues and Tibetan culture, the religious leader did not meet with any French officials — a notable side-step likely intended to avoid raising Beijing’s ire.


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