Dharamsala, May 5: Sri Lanka, a key Buddhist nation, had stopped its national cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara and another player from calling on His Holiness the Dalai Lama out of fear that a meeting would anger China, media reports said Tuesday.
Sangakkara was advised against paying a courtesy visit to Dalai Lama in India (Photo: AFP)
Sangakkara and former skipper Mahela Jayawardene were asked not to join their Indian Premier League (IPL) teammates of Kings XI Punjab, who paid a courtesy call on the exiled Tibetan leader last month in Dharamsala, the seat of Tibetan Government-in-Exile in North India, a top Sri Lankan cricket official told media in Colombo.
"Kumar and Mahela were instructed not to visit the Tibetan leader. It was a foreign ministry directive that was issued to us, via the sports ministry," Sri Lanka cricket secretary Nishantha Ranatunga told AFP
Local media reported that Jayawardene's wife Christina had, however, joined the team to visit the Tibetan spiritual leader
"We were made to understand that we should not upset relations with China," Ranatunga said.
Sri Lanka supports a "one-China" policy and regards Beijing as a key political and military ally.
China regularly protests to countries which allow visits by the Dalai Lama.
Beijing has also reportedly helped block a resolution censuring Sri Lanka for its handling of the final stages of its war against the Tamil Tiger rebels last year and is a main supplier of small arms to the South Asian nation.