China has launched an information blitz in the United States to dispel what it calls Western propaganda that portrays human rights and other abuses by Beijing in Tibet. Here the Potola palace in Tibet's capital Lhasa(AFP/File/Peter Parks)
WASHINGTON - China has launched an information blitz in the United States to dispel what it calls Western propaganda that portrays human rights and other abuses by Beijing in Tibet.
A delegation of scholars and religious leaders from Lhasa are on a week long visit to Washington, New York and Los Angeles to dispel "lots of misunderstandings" among the American public and any efforts to undermine China's system of ruling Tibet, Chinese embassy spokesman Sun Weide said.
"One example is that many people in the West, particularly in the United States, consider Tibet to be an independent country when the fact of the matter is that Tibet has been incorporated in Chinese territory since the middle of the 13th century," he said.
Sun chaired a media briefing by six scholars and Buddhist leaders, who insisted in their speeches that the Chinese authorities did not curb the freedom of the Tibetans, including religious, cultural and education rights.
The delegation would meet US legislators and students and staff of several US universities before returning home Sunday.
Delegation head Shesrabnyima, a university professor who has written several books on Tibetan history, said Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama was welcome to return home if he "abandons his separatist propositions."
He said the Dalai Lama should "really consider the interests of the people and respect the political situation of China and recognise that Tibet and Taiwan are inseparable parts of the Chinese territory."
The Dalai Lama is currently on a visit to Britain and on Thursday held talks with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, a meeting that took place despite vehement and vocal opposition from China.
Britain's Foreign Office stressed that the Dalai Lama was visiting in his capacity as a religious leader, and that his talks with Straw implied no change to Britain's official acceptance that Tibet is part of China.
China has been accused of trying to wipe out Tibet's Buddhist-based culture through political and religious repression and a flood of ethnic Chinese immigration.