By Tenzin Dharpo
CTA President Dr. Lobsang Sangay. file photo
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 30: Days after a high level United States leader visited the base of the exile Tibetan diaspora and met with its leaders, China has said that such action takes away from the mutual trust and cooperation between the countries.
US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback on Monday met the Dalai Lama and the head of the exile Tibetan polity in what is being seen as a strong political gesture of support for the Tibetans and also in thwarting Beijing’s attempt to claim legitimacy over the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.
Brownback is the highest official from the Washington government to visit Dharamshala in the recent memory, where both the Dalai Lama resides and where the exile Tibetan government known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration is based. Here on Monday he said, “The United States government supports the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama and that the role of picking a successor to the Dalai Lama belongs to the Tibetan Buddhist system, the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan Buddhist leaders. It does not belong to anybody else, not any government or any entity.”
The statement challenges Beijing’s assertion that any reincarnate lama, and particularly the Dalai Lama must be approved by them. On Tuesday in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told the media, "China firmly opposes any contact with the Dalai Lama by any foreign official. The words and deeds of a certain US official violates US commitment to recognise Tibet as part of China, and not to support Tibetan independence. China firmly opposes such words and deeds."
"We strongly urge the US to stop contact with the Dalai Lama group, stop uttering irresponsible remarks, stop using Tibet related affairs to interfere in China's internal affairs, and do more to contribute to mutual trust and cooperation between China and the US," Geng further said.
The reaction, many say, is exactly what the CTA President Dr. Lobsang Sangay may be expecting who invited the US Ambassador here. Sangay said that Brownback’s visit gives “hope and inspiration” Tibetans inside occupied Tibet and also reinforces the belief among the exile Tibetans that America is with them. He said, “Let me get a little political, your (US Ambassador) visit sends a strong message to Beijing and they will hear it loud and clear.”